Festival Draws Crowds To Gulfport Downtown - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Festival Draws Crowds To Gulfport Downtown

Port City Café owner Ernest Ulrich has served up tasty meals in downtown Gulfport for six years, and he sees no reason to stop now.

"We like the downtown area," says Ulrich. "Of course, Katrina did some damage to it ,but we're going to be here for the long haul. We're going to bring this place back to life."

The "Fall Around Downtown" festival was about much more than music and shopping. The Gulfport Main Street Association also wanted to create an economic boost by drawing people in and showing them what downtown has to offer. It's a goal that members admit has its challenges.

"It's different than the Main Streets that revitalize areas that are just old and run down and abandoned. We're destroyed," says member Carol McDaniel. "So the difference here is our goal is to get people. As we grow, we're going to be really beautiful and get people to live down here and eat down here. It's just harder than the normal Main Street Association."

Members of the Gulfport Main Street Association say they can already see signs that the downtown devastated by Katrina one year ago is on the rebound. So far, more than a dozen businesses have opened and more progress is being made every day.

McDaniel says, "Maybe it will take five, ten, fifteen years before we're totally finished but it's going be a great bustling downtown. Livable area with restaurants and shops. We hope to have an arts district so I would say if you're interested in a beautiful place to live come look at it."

by Danielle Thomas 

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