GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A large crowd filled Gulfport City Hall Tuesday to show support for FunTime USA's return to the coast. But before city leaders could take action on the re-zoning request, the land owners withdrew the request.
But the developers promise the project is still a go. FunTime USA Co-Owner Romy Simpson said they're prepared to move to a back up plan to keep the project alive. She then went directly into a meeting with an attorney, but promised to release more details in the coming days.
It should be noted that the property owners and the FunTime USA developers are two different parties. Developers planned to break ground on the project in January, but had to wait for property owners to clear up a zoning question. Most of the four acre property is zoned for large commercial use, but one section is zoned for smaller businesses.
The city planning commission has approved the zoning change twice. But now nearby residents are voicing concerns over the noise that could come with the amusement park.
Mike Marshall, who lives near the project site, said he supports business growth and bringing back family entertainment, but believes the property is the wrong place for an amusement park.
"The noise and the hours, the operating hours, and there are plenty of other locations between Cowan Rd. and the Gulfport VA that a business like this could locate," Marshall said. "I think if they were to look and consider, 'Would I want this in my backyard', then I think they'll make the right decision."
Developers say they have designed ways to cut down on the noise, such as putting the go-cart track closer to Highway 90.
"It's going to be fenced in; one way in, one way out. We're going to have shrubbery which reduces noise. We're going to have noise buffers. We just want to build a beautiful park, be good neighbors," said FunTime USA Co-Owner Romy Simpson.