Plans to overhaul the look and feel of Jones Park got the Gulfport City Council's stamp of approval Tuesday in a 6 to 1 vote. At an afternoon council meeting, a design team from the Wallace Roberts and Todd consulting firm publicly unveiled its vision for Jones park. Earlier in the day, council members visited the site to get a better idea of what it might look like once finished.
"There's something here for everyone," said council member Libby Milner-Roland.
With a ballpark, a playground, event space and more, Milner-Roland predicts Jones Park will become a place for both tourists and locals to enjoy. She's especially excited about what a proposed amphitheater will mean to Gulfport's youth. (Click here to see a map of the project.)
"The teenagers around here are always looking for something to do," said Milner-Roland. "They're always kind of left out of that situation. And if we can make this a place for them to come and enjoy, and if we can, aim some of the concerts that are done towards them."
A visit to Jones Park on Tuesday allowed Mayor Brent Warr and council members to get a better idea of what proposals made on paper might look like in reality.
Ward 4's Jackie Smith said, "I think this is an opportunity for us to really take a good look at it. We've been talking about this for a long time, as you well know. We've done a lot of planning on it. We've done a lot of meetings on it, and I for one am ready to go ahead and try to get something established."
Even though council members now have the drawings in hand, they realize there is still a lot of planning to be done, like figuring out how to build the infrastructure needed to support the Jones Park project.
"You start talking about drainage system you've got to work from and it's going to be a level grade starting back from the highway working way back to this area here. So it's a lot of logistics we've got to work on," said Smith.
Libby Milner-Roland said, "I think that patience, that we have waited this long, it's finally come to fruition and it's absolutely wonderful. All the waiting has paid off."
The council accepted the proposal as a conceptual plan, which means there could be some changes made to it. It also came with the stipulation that a public meeting must be held in the next seven days to discuss the plans.