Community leaders have always felt that Gulfport's harbor area should be a reflection of what the entire city looks like. Previous plans to redevelop the harbor never left the dock. Now a Florida team has new designs for the small craft harbor and for Jones Park.
One of the waterfront designer is John Fernsler. He said, "Essentially to recreate this waterfront to meet the expressed desires and aspirations of the citizens of Gulfport."
Gulfport hired Fernsler and his team at Wallace Roberts and Todd and asked it to redesign the waterfront. The first drawing they came up with adds parking and modernizes what already exists around the Jones Park small craft harbor area. Fernsler said, "Even the most modest of the three concepts is a vast improvement over what we have there now in terms of both the quantity and the quality of green space."
Concept two not only adds green space, it moves most of harbor businesses to the area's northeastern tip. A fisherman's village, retail shops, and an entertainment complex are all be part of the design.
The third plan is the most comprehensive. According to designer Michael Delgiudice, "Why this scheme is different from the rest is that we're really concentrating the commercial activities on the west zone."
The commercial activities proposed in concept "c" include an amphitheater, a fisherman's village, a parking deck, a renovated Marine Life, and a moderate casino resort , as long as the casino is not on public property. Fernsler said the casino "is one of a number of variables that could be accommodated on private property adjacent to the public activities."
Wallace Roberts and Todd will present its proposed vision for Gulfport's waterfront this week at a series of meetings. Tuesdasy morning, the city council and Gulfport's Waterfront Committee will see the preliminary concepts. It's the waterfront committee that will tell designers, what should be included in the final proposal they submit to the city.