Gulfport nearing lease agreement to re-open Grass Lawn

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Historic Grass Lawn, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt, has been sitting empty on Highway 90 for several years.

Gulfport decided to find an outside party to lease the property and has agreed in principle on the terms of the arrangement.

"We put out for a competitive bid process and we got one interested vendor. That agreement has been worked out and is now ready to go to the council," said Chief Administrative Officer Dr. John Kelly.

That proposal could be voted on by the City Council as early as Tuesday, April 16.

Before Katrina, the structure was used for a variety of events and Kelly says he expects the building and property to be utilized in much the same way.

"It's a great location for weddings and receptions. Really, the same kind of activities we had prior to the storm," said Dr. Kelly.

The new Grass Lawn has fewer parking places and it will be up to the lessee to make arrangements for off site parking. That person would also be responsible for security.

Dr. Kelly says the city is anxious to re-open Grass Lawn.

"Anytime we have an opportunity to bring back an icon like Grass Lawn we need to get it back online," said Dr. Kelly.

Meanwhile, Gulfport is close to working out a deal with a non-profit agency to lease the old Leisure Services building on Courthouse Road.

Dr. Kelly told WLOX News, "We're actually working on that agreement right now. I suspect we'll be ready to take something to the city council in 60 days."

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.