After weeks of disagreement and debate, the Gulfport City Council signed off on a deal Tuesday night to build a new community center on Dedeaux Road. The council agreed to buy 6.6 acres of land on the north side of Dedeaux Road, just east of Klein Muffler.
The decision is a victory for Mayor Brent Warr, who's been pushing for the Dedeaux Road Center to replace the destroyed Charles Walker Community Center. That center was just west of where the Island View Casino Resort now sits.
Along with the community center, the Dedeaux project will include a fire and police station, as well as tennis courts and a pavilion.
Some residents and council members objected to the plan for several reasons, including increased traffic.
"A park is about as low traffic an impact as you can put on a busy road. It's also zoned for an apartment complex, so it could have several hundred cars on there, where this, I would be surprised if there were more than a few dozen at any other time, other than maybe when there was a big event going on," Mayor Brent Warr said.
Council members Gary Hollimon, Libby Milner Roland, Jackie Smith and Brian Carriere all voted for the measure.
Carriere was the swing vote and told WLOX News he was swayed after they negotiated the price down. Mayor Warr says he and other council members negotiated the price of the land from $1.65 million to $1.4 million.
Voting against the measure were Neil Resh, Ella Holmes Hines and Barbara Nalley, who represents the area where the center will be built.
FEMA will fund $4 million of the project. That's the cost of replacing the Charles Walker Center.