Orange Grove Residents Prepare For Change

Will Orange Grove rebuild its community center? That was the question at a community meeting Wednesday evening.

Gulfport City Council leaders and the city's administration met with residents about plans for a new community center and more.

Mayor Brent Warr says he came to the meeting to clear up what he calls "misinformation" by some council members. The mayor says it was rumored that he would not support rebuilding the Orange Grove Community Center on Highway 49. He says that is false.

Mayor Warr says he will rebuild that community center and he also has new plans to build a multi-million dollar complex off of Dedeaux Road.

"The majority would love to have a park and a community center and a shelter in their community. We can't take pieces of this. This is a relocation of a damaged facility. When FEMA does this, they have to replace exactly what was there down to the square foot," says Warr.

FEMA will fund the nearly $4 million complex on Deadeaux near Klein Road. It will include a police station, fire department, a park pavilion, a public works storage building and a community center, which could also act as a storm shelter.

All are options Mayor Warr says the city is lucky to have.

"There are communities all over Mississippi that have been trying for years to get something like this," Warr said.

Now Mayor Warr says it's left up to the community to get their council members to back the proposal so that the city can move forward.

The Orange Grove complex proposal is expected to resurface at Thursday night's budget hearings. The public meeting is scheduled for 5:30pm at Gulfport City Hall.

Region Eight leaders were also at Wednesday's meeting to discuss Orange Grove's affordable housing options.

Roy Necaise and Jesse Billups presented plans for Sandstone Villas, an apartment community which caters to low-income families. Earlier this year, Gulfport's planning commission rejected the proposal for the complex.