GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On Thursday, the Mississippi State Port Authority hosted a community workshop for those interested in entering a bid on one of the biggest projects to be done at the Port of Gulfport. Several business owners showed up to the meeting to learn more about how to qualify for the project.
"That's the purpose of this meeting today is to discuss what is a section three contractor. There's a lot of small businesses that may very well already be qualified," said Joseph Conn, who is the Port Restoration Director.
To be qualified as a section three business, you must employ those with a low to moderate income or are on government assistance. This is a part of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968.
Fontello Brown owns a section three business, and recently obtained a landscaping contract with the port. He was at the meeting to offer some advice.
"It took us about 600 man hours to (do the paperwork), so it takes a lot of time and a lot of reading and making sure you cross all your T's and dot all your I's," said Brown.
Brown has been involved with several federal projects prior to his current one with the port, so his team was prepared for the extensive work it takes to secure a job like this one.
"Our help came from right within our office. I have a very sharp team of people together. We asked the port very few questions, but the questions that we did ask the port authority, they were very helpful with giving us those answers," said Brown.
The project includes building a 300,000 square foot warehouse with two maintenance and repair buildings, office buildings and entry/exit control gates. Port officials say they will give preference to section three contractors, and bids close on June 13.
A pre-bid meeting for the West Pier Facilities project will be held on Wednesday, May 21, at Westside Community Center in Gulfport.