GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Marine construction greets visitors near the entrance to Gulfport harbor. The latest improvement - a 250-foot pier designed primarily to accommodate visiting boaters.
The project is being paid for with $250,000 in tidelands funds, offering day dockage to boaters.
"Folks that don't have to pay for a regular slip, if they want to come to the fuel dock or this area and just bring their boat and then leave at the end of the day," said Dax Alexander, project engineer.
Visitors who arrive by water will have somewhere secure to leave their boat while they check out area attractions and restaurants.
"They can even park their boat here for a little while, run downtown and get a bite to eat, jump back in their boat. Or, they can stay overnight with us as a transient," said Gulfport harbormaster, George Manemann.
The pier is the latest in a series of planned improvements or additions at the harbor. Future plans include a new docking facility for the Ship Island ferry, and the return of a waterside restaurant.
"Long term plans is that we're going to have an elevated structure over here where the old White Cap restaurant used to be," said Manemann. "It will be some point erected where folks can come up and visit the restaurant."
Work on the new pier began just a few weeks ago, and is expected to be complete mid-April.
The harbormaster says the new pier may also encourage some visiting boaters to take a closer look at the Gulfport harbor as a possible permanent spot to dock their boat.
"We're spending tidelands money which is always for public access, and this pier is in fact going to provide public access. It does good things for the City of Gulfport, and certainly for the Gulfport marina," says Manemann.