GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The city of Gulfport is moving forward with plans to bring a world-class aquarium complex to South Mississippi.
Today, the city council unanimously approved the acquisition and financing for the proposed development that will overlook the Gulfport Harbor and Jones Park.
Mayor Billy Hewes said the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission brought together ten different properties to create a single campus. One of the properties is the old First Baptist Church property. The other nine are parcels between 21st Avenue and 23rd Avenue and from 14th Street to Highway 90.
"We have the support of state and local officials and are in discussions with prospective developers for this project," said Mayor Hewes. "The acquisition of this downtown property will be of historic significance in the development of Gulfport and the Mississippi Gulf Coast for generations to come."
The proposed development will include the aquarium, hotel and retail amenities. The GRC has contracted with David Kimmel, former CEO of the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, to serve as a consultant on the project.
"What makes this project so exciting for me, is that the location is ideal, overlooking the Gulf and more important, the leadership wants to do it right," said Kimmel. "Their focus and determination to create Gulfport as a family destination should be applauded!"
WLOX News is working to gather more information on this developing story.