Handsboro Residents Discuss Smart Code Changes

The Handsboro Community is right in the heart of Gulfport, and like many areas, has experienced many changes over the years. The city has adopted Smart Code and planners met Tuesday night with residents to get their input on how the area should be zoned.

Residents told the group of planners, they'd like to see more locally owned stores over franchises and more sidewalks. The group's plan calls for more pedestrian walkways and bike paths.

"The whole underlying premise behind Smart Code is to create, quality, walkable neighborhoods. So what we're going to ask community members here today, is where they would like to see a corner store they could walk to, instead of, I mean to cross Cowan-Lorraine Road to get some of their daily needs," said planning consultant Linda Weil.

Cowan Road is the hub of Handsboro. Planners have big plans for the busy thoroughfare.

"What the design team is talking about is the idea of recommending to the city that Cowan-Lorraine be turned into a Boulevard where you have center lanes that will get you from 10 to the beach relatively quickly. You'd have treed grass medians, and then some slip lanes for slower moving traffic, that would face up to some nice retail shops," Weil said.

Planners say they'll review comments from the meeting and will begin making adjustments to their zoning maps before sending a final draft to city officials. The final drafts of the maps will be presented at a joint meeting with the planning commission and the city council. No word yet on when that will be.