GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A bill heading to Governor Phil Bryant's desk would protect $450 million worth of economic projects in Gulfport.
House Bill 1767 would give the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission the opportunity to sign long-term leases with developers on projects including Gulfport's proposed aquarium, Centennial Plaza and a $140 million casino project.
"I think it's about five to six different properties in Gulfport that they'll have an opportunity to enter into leases with and hopefully bring economic development back to some of these areas that just haven't returned since Hurricane Katrina," said State Senator Sean Tindell.
The GRC began in 2008 under a state law that allowed it to do long-term leasing to improve blighted areas in the city. But a recent Supreme Court case involving a similar commission in Tupelo created some confusion.
To be proactive, HB 1767 was created to reestablish the GRC's ability to do several specific projects. The bill also clarifies the city's authority over all development decisions made by the GRC.
Senator Tindell helped with the passage of the bill. He believes Governor Bryant will sign HB 1767 into law.
"I absolutely expect him to sign it. Generally on these local private issues they defer to the local municipalities or county government and the legislators that represent those districts. I don't see any problem with the governor on this."
We'll keep you updated on what Governor Bryant decides to do.