Residents Give Input On Firm's Plan For Gulfport

The planning firm, Duany Plater Zyberk, shared its initial plan at a public meeting at the Handsboro Community Center.

Rip Daniels is a lifelong Gulfport resident and business owner. He liked most of what he heard at the meeting but is concerned about elevation requirements.

"I would really like to see someone go to bat with FEMA and definitely try to encourage them to focus more on creating masonry structures that are not elevated. I've been an advocate for this," Daniels said. "I spent a fact finding mission in the Caribbean, in Anguilla, and those people don't build on stilts, and the idea of building along the Gulf Coast, beachline and shoreline on stilts is really just kind of absurd."

Margie Quince and John Harral believe the initial plans sound promising.

"I just hope that if a plan is developed and decided on, when it goes back to Council, everybody will be in accord and we can get these things off the ground because he did say, there is a limited opportunity. This money the Feds are sending this way will not last forever," Margie said.

"The library site, the one downtown, is one of the very best sites downtown, and what they put up there which was a hotel and office combined use, is just fantastic. It would save all of the oak trees on that wonderful site, and yet it would be a tremendous anchor on the east site," John Harral said.

Not everyone liked what they heard. Lorraine Santo is concerned about plans for the VA Property.

"I'm concerned because we had so many plans at the beginning that I thought were going to be good, arts and the hospital or whatever, and now it's turned into a big commercial venture," Santo said.

While opinions may differ, everyone agrees that they want to see Gulfport move forward in the coming years. The firm plans to use the input from the meeting to modify and improve the current plan.