Changes For Gaston Point Community

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- More affordable housing, a police athletic league center, and a new community center are just some of the changes on the way for the Gaston Point Community.

Wednesday Mayor Brent Warr made a stop at the community center as a part of this year's state of the city address and he wants residents in the community to know change is on the way.

The Gaston Point Community Center is the hub of West Gulfport. But right now it's not serving it's purpose in the historic community.

"It's very limited due to the roof damage and the city did not want to risk anyone getting hurt inside of the facility," said Gary Holliman.

Hurricane Katrina caused major damage to the community center and Ward one councilman Gary Holliman says the people who depend on the facility are getting anxious.

"The question asked most of the time: When is our center going to get online? Why is it taking so long? A lot of times the residents don't know that there are steps and procedures as far as appropriate funds being allocated to restructure the facility," Holliman said.

Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr says those funds are in place and work is set to begin in Gaston Point.

"We have a huge redevelopment here at the Gaston Point Community Center. We're going to completely re-do this gymnasium. We're doing an addition to the community center next door that's going to be for after school activity," said Mayor Warr.

The center will expand by 1200 square feet, increasing its meeting space, youth areas, not to mention a brand new gymnasium complete with a new roof, wooden floors and new equipment.

In recent months Gulfport leaders have been criticized over the timeliness of projects throughout the city. But they say they want to do things right the first time.

"We could have thrown a lot of things up and wasted the money but we only had one shot at the federal funding and we want to make sure that we use it right," said Mayor Warr.

Now the city will pour millions into a community where change is on the way. [Notes:40:52]

"Gaston Point is really turning around. It had work to do prior to the storm of course since the storm it created a lot more damage and a lot more opportunity," said Mayor Warr.

Construction at the Gaston Point Community Center will begin next Tuesday, March 18th. The ground breaking for the new PAL Center will also be next week.