GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - After a lengthy debate Tuesday night among Gautier city leaders, the city is moving forward with developing plans for a new park and activity hub in the heart of the city called The Town Commons.
"Town Commons is a 32 acre planned urban park that we want to put behind Singing River Mall. It will place for families to hang out, teenagers to play football. We want to have amphitheater you can have concerts, pavilions where you can have weddings," Economic Director Chandra Nicholson said.
Before the Gautier City Council gave the economic director the green light to begin more work on the project, some of the councilmen had concerns about how and if it would blend with the open-air mall expected to go up feet away from the site.
"I can't see us clearing and doing all the drainage improvements on the 32 acre parcel all at one time. What we can do is determine where the high points are and the most adventitious places are and do the pavilions and theaters, and have it as a progression as the mall progresses and make sure they complement each other," Councilman Adam Colledge.
The money to make the project happen was also questioned at Tuesday's meeting. So far, city leaders have paid for the land with CIAP and Tidelands funds. A wetlands review of the property has also been completed.
"We have about $180,000 in funding at this time, with an additional $250,000 coming online in tidelands funds. And then we will continue to seek funding and grants and so forth. It's a big park, and depending on the funding, it will probably be done in five or six phases," Nicholson said.
After much discussion, the mayor and council decided to move forward with creating a rough draft of the park's layout.
"What we are looking for is a concept design that is exactly what we want to have out there. Our economic development director is going to provide that within three months. We will have some work sessions to get down to what we want to provide out there in detail, but we need a basic concept design to start with," Mayor Gordon Gollott said.
Nicholson said in three months, her team should have 20 percent of the conceptual plan finished to present to the council for input.