Jobs still the number one issue at the Port of Gulfport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jobs still the number one issue at the Port of Gulfport

Part of the agreement with HUD, was the creation of 1300 promised jobs. (Photo source: WLOX) Part of the agreement with HUD, was the creation of 1300 promised jobs. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The future of the Port of Gulfport is bright. That's the message from the port's executive director, Jonathan Daniels. He spoke to a packed house of business and community leaders Tuesday morning. The $575 million HUD financed port expansion is on schedule to be complete in the spring of 2018.

But there are some who think that progress at the port is moving too slow, especially when it comes to handing out paychecks. Part of the agreement with HUD, was the creation of 1300 promised jobs. 

"We remain concerned that the focus today wasn't on job creation. That's what this has always been about, is creating permanent jobs," said Howard Page with the Steps Coalition. "We strongly advocate any effort that actually going to create jobs. When I look at the numbers from where we started and where we are today, we've only lost jobs at the port."

Port Director Jonathan Daniels hears those voices. 

"We certainly understand what they are saying, we respect what they are saying. We certainly don't agree with them that we are not creating them fast enough," Daniels explained.

But Page remains unsatisfied. 

"This is recovery money from Hurricane Katrina. We're now many, many years, 12 years past Katrina and the port has not done what this is about, which is creating jobs." 

While the port director says he understands the concern over job creation, he also said there's a simple answer as to why all of them haven't been created as of yet.  

"I'd love to have 1300 jobs right now, but we need to be able to expend the money, get the facilities on line and allow the tenants the opportunity to be able to put those jobs in place," Daniels explained.

For many elected officials, the focus on jobs is a good thing, despite gains in other areas of port operations. One of them is Ella Holmes-Hines, a Gulfport city council member. 

"What Jonathan is saying today, he's halfway there and he's aware that these 1,300 jobs are looming over him, and that he's going to get it done because that's what we need, are those real jobs that will change the quality of life for our port."

Daniels also touched on several other topics, including another possible future expansion, beautification efforts, the partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi, community outreach and signing almost every port tenant to a long term lease.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Actress arrested in sex trafficking in 'guru to stars' case

    Actress arrested in sex trafficking in 'guru to stars' case

    Friday, April 20 2018 4:13 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:13:13 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 9:34 PM EDT2018-04-21 01:34:45 GMT
    (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This June 26, 2012, file photo shows television actress Allison Mack at a party in Los Angeles. Federal prosecutors say television actress Allison Mack, from "Smallville" has been charged with sex tr...(Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP, File). FILE - This June 26, 2012, file photo shows television actress Allison Mack at a party in Los Angeles. Federal prosecutors say television actress Allison Mack, from "Smallville" has been charged with sex tr...
    Federal prosecutors say a television actress best known for playing a young Superman's close friend has been charged with sex trafficking for helping recruit women to be slaves of a man who sold himself as a...More >>
    Federal prosecutors say a television actress best known for playing a young Superman's close friend has been charged with sex trafficking for helping recruit women to be slaves of a man who sold himself as a self-improvement guru.More >>
  • Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson delights high school girl with prom surprise

    Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson delights high school girl with prom surprise

    Friday, April 20 2018 5:35 PM EDT2018-04-20 21:35:23 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 5:35 PM EDT2018-04-20 21:35:23 GMT
    Katie Kelzenberg invited the Hollywood star to her prom next month. (Source: Vianney Le Caer/AP)Katie Kelzenberg invited the Hollywood star to her prom next month. (Source: Vianney Le Caer/AP)

    Katie Kelzenberg invited the Hollywood star to her prom next month.

    More >>

    Katie Kelzenberg invited the Hollywood star to her prom next month.

    More >>
  • Wells Fargo fined $1B for mortgage, auto lending abuses

    Wells Fargo fined $1B for mortgage, auto lending abuses

    Friday, April 20 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-04-20 13:33:09 GMT
    Friday, April 20 2018 9:14 PM EDT2018-04-21 01:14:16 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File). FILE - This Aug. 11, 2017, file photo shows a sign at a Wells Fargo bank location in Philadelphia. The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting Thursday, April 19, 2018, that federal regulators plan to fine Well...(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File). FILE - This Aug. 11, 2017, file photo shows a sign at a Wells Fargo bank location in Philadelphia. The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting Thursday, April 19, 2018, that federal regulators plan to fine Well...

    Wells Fargo fined a combined $1 billion by federal regulators for abuses tied to its mortgage and auto lending businesses.

    More >>

    Wells Fargo fined a combined $1 billion by federal regulators for abuses tied to its mortgage and auto lending businesses.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly