GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A public meeting in the north Gulfport community gave citizens a chance to voice their concerns about a proposed development near Turkey Creek. Citizens are concerned because the proposed development would be built on hundreds of acres of wetlands, and they are worried it would cause their neighborhoods to flood even worse.
That's why several organizations partnered together to host this community meeting, where some residents were very vocal. Richard Marsh was just one of vocal residents who had a lot to say about the proposed mixed use development that first came up more than 10 years ago by Ward Investments.
"He came in then with no respect or disregard to the community and the people. Jerard, his son, has done the same thing," said Marsh.
Jerard Ward is the developer who wants to fill more than 430 acres of wetlands just south of I-10 to create a business park, but residents say that could potentially make their flooding problems much worse.
"We've been reaching out to the community and we've been doing so since January 2014, informing the community, gathering data, sharing that data with local stakeholders," said Ward.
Several citizens disagree with Ward, saying they have not been well informed about this major project.
"You have not met with the people, and this is what this is about, the people. Their livelihood, their homes, their children," said Marsh.
Ward says they have been concerned about flooding from the beginning.
"One thing I can assure you is that's not going to happen," said Ward.
Organizations like the STEPS Coalition have been hosting meetings to inform the community about the risks of filling this wetlands, but residents say they want to hear more from Ward Investments.
"We need to know more about what's going to be there, the development that's going to be in that community. They need to do a better investigation into the impact of the mitigation study on that, and what would be the effects of the underlying effects of the communities in the area and how they will be affected by this kind of development in this district," said Thressia Lyons.
August 1, 2015 is the last day residents can submit comments on this project to the Army Corps of Engineers.