GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport park received much needed tender love and care Friday morning.
Since Hurricane Katrina, James Hill Park has sat in need of repairs and sprucing up. Thanks to a grant and several organizations helping with the manpower, the city was able to bring the old park back to life.
Local representatives and Rex Distribution personnel volunteered to clean the park and install 10 benches, 10 tables, and plant nearly 80 trees.
"The park had been damaged by previous storms, most recently Isaac, and therefore needed to be rebuilt and fixed so that everyone could come out, enjoy and be safe," Rex Distributing Vice President Ann Magruder said.
The park was originally dedicated in July of 1971 for James Hill, Commander of the Naval Construction Battalion Gulfport during Hurricane Camille, for his efforts in support of the cleanup following the storm.
"It's terrific. It's an amazing thing because a lot of people don't remember, this is where they burned all the debris from Camille and now it's so beautiful. I mean, who could imagine that!" Henry Blanton said.
Blanton is Captain Hill's nephew. His wife, Jane, is also thrilled to see how far the park has come.
"He would be so proud. And we've talked to so many people that say, 'Oh, I use that park all the time.' And I'm just so happy that they do," she said with a smile.
"There's easy places to walk, there's shade to sit down and rest. We have open fields that you can play. Just a nice outdoor facility that we can enjoy out Gulf Coast," Magruder said.
"I can't wait to bring my kids out here. Me and my sons will be fishing and my little girl, she'll get bored after fishing and she can run around and play and enjoy herself," volunteer Toby Hinote added.
Anheuser-Busch only awarded four grants nationwide for community and environmental restoration. The grant was for $10,000.