Residents Give Input On Inland Port Plans In Northwest Gulfport

By Toni Miles - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Port officials want to use MDA grant money to build an inland port in the area just north of the Old 28th Street Elementary School and east of 34th Avenue in northwest Gulfport.

"The inland port for those who may not know, you have a port, you have some property inland that will help mitigate from future storms where you can move cargo to or what have you in case there's a future storm," said Lee Youngblood, the public relations officer for the Mississippi Development Authority.

It's all part of the port's master plan to expand, become more storm resistant and create more jobs.

"We want to position the port to be in a position to capitalize on the new trade, new cargo out there in the coming decades," Youngblood said.

Port officials and the MDA held a public meeting to get input on their plans for the inland port.

"Your inland port, you would have to fill 70 acres of wetlands. That would only increase flooding in a community that is already suffering from flooding," said resident Rose Johnson.

"My concern is it could bring a thousand jobs over ten years wherever it's at, but them jobs ain't going to come down to us here anyway," another resident said.

While most people were against it, a few people supported the idea.

"It would be more people working, less crime on the street, a better place for everybody," said one resident.

"We need the port. We need income, viable income. That has been the stability of this community for over 60 years," another resident said.

The North Gulfport Community Land Trust recently surveyed some residents about the inland port idea.

"What we found, that 75 percent of this neighborhood had no idea this thing was happening, and that they weren't too pleased about its construction in their neighborhood," said Jason Mackenzie of the North Gulfport Community Land Trust.

The land has not yet been purchased. Officials say they'll review comments from Tuesday night's meeting before making a decision. Community Block Grant Money would pay for the inland port.