Gulfport is going forward with an improvement plan for Courthouse Road although exactly what all those plans will entail has not been determined. After hearing from several unhappy business owners, the city council voted, for the time being, Gulfport will only proceed in the section south of Perry Street.
Everyone, who spoke at the meeting, agreed that improvements to Courthouse Road are way overdue.
Business owner Michael Williams said, "If we're looking to put lighting down Courthouse Road that would be a beautiful enhancement. Sidewalks where it's more pedestrian friendly. That's another great idea."
However, the idea of medians on Courthouse Road didn't go too well with some business owners.
"We have transport trucks and different 18-heelers that come in every single day delivering fuel, delivering products to us," said Mary Fayard, of Eagle Energy. "They have to use the turning lane to get in. If you put a median, we are basically closed off."
Michael Hage owners of All Signs said, "There is no way an 18-wheeler heading southbound can get into my property."
Some business owners said the upkeep of the medians might also become a burden for the city.
"It's not going to do anything for anybody, but be a place where you need to cut grass and trim trees," said Business Owner Michael Durlak. "It's going to block access like I said from our businesses. It's going to hurt us. Best thing I could probably do at that point maybe is to bulldoze the building down and move to Biloxi."
City engineers said medians were added to the design in part for safety. They reduce the chance of head on collisions.
Gulfport Engineer Kris Riemann said, "The idea is to remove the center lane and provide some turning bays into the businesses at some strategic locations so we can not hurt any of the businesses."
"You might want to consider instructing our group to go ahead and go forward from Perry south," said Mayor George Schloegel. "Let's deal with what we can deal with when we have more authority. More agreement from the merchants. But I encourage you to please, please please don't delay this project. Delays cost us money. And our records for delays is that we end up never getting anything done. "
Gulfport city council members said they will continue to take input and suggestions from residents and business owners to decide whether or not to place medians on Courthouse Road between Perry Street and Pass Road.
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