Gulfport Mayor: Our Possibilities Are Endless

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- Tuesday night, Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr gave his annual State of the City Address. The mayor focused on everything from new fire stations to rebuilding, and he wants the citizens of Gulfport to be excited about what's to come.

"We're building a better Gulfport and our possibilities are endless," said Mayor Brent Warr.

It's his third address since Hurricane Katrina and this year, Mayor Brent Warr is bragging on Gulfport's success.

"Gulfport has seen a reduction in violent crime rate in the last 12 months of 66 percent," Warr said.

Crime is down, and new businesses are going up. The mayor says there is an influx of new retail businesses from the beach to Orange Grove. That means more people and more traffic.

However, the mayor says the city is prepared. It already installed 40 percent of its new traffic lights and the remainder will be up and running by the end of April.

Many residents are pleased with the city's progress, but others say some things that aren't moving fast enough.

"I think a lot of money should be diverted to getting downtown fixed up a lot better," said Gulfport resident Ray Paulin.

He says sites like the Markham Building are still an eyesore to the city.

"I've seen a big change in the Hancock building and a lot of the major structures, but a lot of these smaller buildings are abandoned and they haven't been demolished like they should have been," said Paulin.

Gulfport resident and business owner Ethel Shaw agrees.

"Some of the things he mentioned was cleaning up the city, and I think we could do more in cleaning up the city and our own surroundings," Shaw said.

"The city is taking a more aggressive stance than ever before and property owners should act now. Today, I ask for all citizens and property owners of Gulfport to look their properties over and, if needed, clean them up," Warr said.

Mayor Warr also reminded people of other multi-million dollar projects like several new hotels, the VA Property and the Small Craft Harbor, where work is set to begin in June. Big plans for bigger and better Gulfport.