Clower Thornton Nature Area in line for improvement work

A Gulfport jewel could be getting a little polish soon.
Published: Feb. 19, 2023 at 8:49 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A Gulfport jewel could be getting a little polish soon.

The Clower Thornton Nature Area on East Railroad Street north of Centennial Plaza re-opened in 2018 after extensive renovation. Now, the city-owned property is in need a little more love and attention.

The area is an escape.

“It looks like Gulfport before Gulfport was Gulfport,” said long-time resident and friend of the Clower family.

It’s where people come to get a little exercise.

Debby and Paul Tackman are regulars here with their bikes.

“Every week,” he said. “We come here every week. It’s like a pit stop on our ride going downtown. Yeah, we stop here - 5 or 10 minutes - whatever. Coffee, cigarettes, and we continue our ride.”

It’s where people come to get a little closer to nature - in its natural state.

“It brings us back to a time when we didn’t have to worry about the cars and the partying noises and all those kinds of things,” said Betty Shaw, Gulfport historian and resident. “Here we are with the birds. And it’s just a place where people can go and enjoy themselves.”

Money through the DMR’s National Resource Damage Assessment/BP Funding, is available for wetlands enhancement, walking trails, esthetics and more. On Tuesday, the Gulfport City Council will consider a resolution to allow DMR and contractors right of entry to begin the work.

Philip Shaw says there’s no doubt the center is popular.

“Because it’s so remote - and most people don’t know it exists - it’s surprising to me that as many people us it as they do,” he said.

Like her husband, Betty Shaw knows the importance of the Clower Thornton Nature Area through the eyes of a historian and a long-time resident.

“It’s just a nice place,” she said. “I like it, and we’re glad that Gulfport has the foresight to find the place to spend the money and DMR partnering to do something like this. ... And we like the fact that it is user friendly, especially as we get older is seems to be more handicapped accessible and safe. And that’s what we’re looking for.”

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