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Papania hopes to tackle key issues in new role with city of Gulfport

Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 6:57 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Former police chief Leonard Papania is once again serving the city of Gulfport, but now in a new role. Papania was recently confirmed as the city’s new chief administrative officer, working with leaders to better the state’s second-largest city.

Papania spoke with WLOX News Now to discuss how he is determined to better Gulfport and believes that through teamwork, the administration can accomplish its goals.

“We got to work on the Gulfport brand,” Papania said. “I am coming back to the city because I love it. I am already sold on the Gulfport brand, but I think we can do better on it.”

Papania now oversees over a dozen departments, all of which are vital to Gulfport’s success, but the administration has chosen three themes to focus on: business development, public safety and infrastructure.

“It is three quick terms, but it is really going to impact the way we are living. Our infrastructure, roadways and drainage, we know there is improvements to be made,” he said.

Discussions with the city engineer have already occurred, and the city plans on being proactive in tackling any flooding issues.

As for public safety, the former police chief said the city will partner with nonprofits and community organizations to try and make a difference in the community.

“We as a city need to see how we can better partner with them and really become a team in our coastal community so we can start addressing these problems,” Papania said.

He also believes that by addressing these challenges, business opportunities like the Aquarium will continue coming to the port city.

“We want to make Gulfport a place where people want to come, they want to shop and start businesses, and they want to invest in this community,” he said.

Papania served in the Gulfport Police Department for over 25 years and is glad to be representing the port city once again.

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