Big Turnout For Gulfport Park Reopening - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Big Turnout For Gulfport Park Reopening

"It was one of the saddest things to ride by the park immediately after the hurricane and see what had been a place for people to come and enjoy the peace and outside to be devastated as it was," said Gulfport resident Joel Smith.

Smith and his family live within walking distance of the park, but since the storm he's found himself answering a lot of questions.

"All three of my children, my wife and I, have all been waiting for weeks and weeks for the park to open. When we pass it every morning, they ask, is the park ready, is the park ready? So, it's a great day of excitement for everybody," Smith said.

Organizer Andi Rushton says in the beginning, people said it couldn't be done, but Miracle in the Park made believers out of Gulfport residents as a new, improved Bayou View Park beckoned the young and old alike at it's grand reopening.

"Volunteer effort has really been amazing. It's been our community coming together, and creating this park, whether it's been through donations by local businesses or if it's just been the sweat by some of the neighbors and friends that have just come out during our work days," Rushton said.

Playground equipment was set up just before the celebration, and there was plenty of shade to go around.

"There were over 180 trees taken down by Katrina, and they've been replaced with over 400, so we've gotten volunteers, and actually it's not a city project, but the volunteer went out on their own and found people to volunteer," said Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr.

At the celebration, local businesses provided free food and drinks for youngsters, who were worn out from playing, and their families, who are just happy to have a new place to take their children to play. 

Several Businesses, Organizations, and citizens helped to repair the park. Improvements to the park total nearly $100,000.

By Toni Miles

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