Gulfport neighbors frustrated over progress of restoring old park

Gulfport neighbors frustrated over progress of restoring old park

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some Gulfport neighbors still feel frustrated over the progress of restoring an old park. They claim the city promised to install new playground equipment at the park. Yet, a year later, the neighbors are still waiting for the improvements.

"It's sad the kids that live out here don't have nowhere to go and play," said Claudette Smith.

Smith lives right next door to Silver Ridge Park on Live Oak Avenue. Right now, it's just an empty field. That's because the city removed the old playground equipment after neighbors complained that it was rusty, dilapidated, and hazardous for children.

"They came in and tore it down, but I ain't seen nobody come over here yet and do nothing. I don't like it, because I have five kids, and they can't come out and play over here or nothing," said Smith.

One community group is also wondering why the city has not installed new playground equipment.

"It's unused and rundown, and we got plenty of kids in the neighborhood. But they're not going to come over here and play, because it's unkempt and dangerous," said Patricia Harvey, a member of the Handsboro & Mississippi City Civic Club.

"Nothing's still been done about it and it's been going on a year now," said Smith.

Smith and other neighbors signed a petition, urging the city to invest some money to improve the park. At the time, Gulfport Councilman Ricky Dombrowski told WLOX News Now the area qualified for a federal Community Development Block Grant. He was hoping to use some of the funds to replace the playground equipment.

Dombrowski said the new playground equipment is on order and the city has repaired the torn fence and installed new lighting.

"I'm excited! I'm excited that we're going to finally get this park back in operation. That's great," said Harvey.

Smith wants to see more improvements soon, now that children are starting their summer break.

"I have to load my little five kids up and take them elsewhere to play at other parks, because there's no park out here," said Smith.

Dombrowski did not provide a time line as to when the new equipment will be installed. Meanwhile, the Handsboro and Mississippi City Civic Club is also trying to get a historical marker installed at the park, because the property was once home to the Mississippi City Colored School.

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