Great American Clean-Up Kicks Off in Gulfport's West Side Park - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Great American Clean-Up Kicks Off in Gulfport's West Side Park

Gulfport's West Side Park is off to a fresh start this spring. The once green space was left wrecked by Hurricane Katrina. But now hundreds of volunteers are raking up the mess, and making way for a new park. One that Assistant Director of Gulfport's Leisure Services, David D'Aquilla, says will be much more family-friendly.

"Behind us we've got the walking track that's going in now. We're going to have a playground module that's going to be a little bit bigger, little bit better than the one that was here before. We're looking at a couple of pavillions."

Also, where the Charles Walker Senior Citizen Center once stood, is now being transformed into a green oasis that will serve as a new sitting area.

"We want to be sure people have an opportunity to have somewhere to go and things to do," explains D'Aquilla.

Director of Harrison County's Beautification Committee, Cindy Simmons, agrees the coast needs more venues for our children.

She says, "Right now there's no place for children to go on field trips; we used to have the Jeff Davis home and a lot of different places for children to go, and they want to get these parks back for families to come have picnics, and for children to come over here."

That's exactly why Keep America Beautiful was committed to coming back to south Mississippi, for a second year in a row.

Ray Empson, president for Keep America Beautiful, says, "We were here last year in Biloxi and at that time your courage and spirit to bounce back inspired us, and we committed then at that time to come back, and here we are again."

And local organizers hope, they'll be back again next year to bring new life to more of south Mississippi's lost parks.

Volunteers Tuesday also cleaned up the areas around West Elementary School and the West Side Pier. Gulfport's West Side Park was one of three locations Keep America Beautiful organizers selected to kick off their 2007 Great American Clean-Up efforts. The other two - Los Angeles and New York City.

By Meggan Gray

Powered by Frankly