West Side Residents Of Gulfport Balk At Plans For A New Community Center

The look of the proposed West Side Community Center is impressive. The amenities and features are designed to serve the young and old alike. In architect Glenn Curries presentation of plans for the center, the meeting of the West Side Community Association ground to a quick halt. Dorothy Hensce was the first of many who questioned the city's plan for a combination community and recreation center in West Side Park.

"That's a small block," says Hensce. "They're putting a lot of stuff in a small place."

And residents say they're not leaving nearly enough room for parking. Still others complained that recreation center activities would drive some residents, especially seniors, away. One of those people is resident David Andre.

"It's going to completely disrupt the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood," says Andre. "And there's almost universal opposition to it."

In the end, association members decided to form a committee to draw up a redesign of the center, with more residents opinions, something Ward 2 Councilwoman Libby Roland says the city didn't have enough of the first time.

"Most of all what we want is a facility that is beneficial to the neighborhood that the people of West Side also want," says Roland.

Resident Pat Willoughby says you still may not be able to please everyone in this quiet neighborhood.

"All in all, it's a good meeting when you've got that many people fighting. Right?" says Willoughby with a chuckle.