Gulfport residents lobby for equal share of $2 million in federal funding
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Thursday, a battle over more than 2 million federal dollars continued in Gulfport. Some city leaders want to focus that funding on the Quarters, and others want to spread the wealth.
2.8 million dollars is added up from prior CDBG grants dating back to 2019.
In August of 2020, Gulfport’s city council approved an Urban Renewal District Plan for the Quarters Historic Minority Business District and Empowerment Zone project.
However, it was pushed to the back burner because of COVID-19.
Councilmen of Gulfport Ward 1, Kenneth “Truck” Casey, said he’s ready for the funding to go to the Quarters.
“It shouldn’t be blided with Job Corps go online. It should be looking better than it’s been looking for a long time,” said Casey.
However, residents said the money should be split between low-income communities.
They said they want the money to go toward building community centers, improve the infrastructure and help all minority owned businesses.
One of the residents in the meeting said, “It’s very unfair. How do you feel about taking the money from all of the communities and putting it into a corner store?”
Neighbors said they’re happy for the potential beautification around the job corps in the Quarters.
However, they said there’s students from other communities that would go there as well and return home to old infrastructure.
One neighbor in the meeting said, “When they leave the job core with all that beauty, they have to come into our neighborhood and they see all the roads that aren’t fixed, they don’t have a community center, they don’t have sidewalks.”
Neighbors said the flooding issue in all neighborhoods should be the priority.
One resident said Wednesday night’s storm flooded her yard and under her house.
“I got to tip-toe in my living room to walk and pray to the lord that I don’t fall down through there.”
Councilwoman of Gulfport Ward 3, Ella Holmes-Hines, said equal share needs to be the focus. “We want to support the quarters, but the idea that you give 2.8 and all the rest of us gets zero is not how we do it,” said Holmes-Hines.
All Gulfport residents are encouraged to fill out surveys on its city website for the plan.
The deadline is July 15.
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