GULFPORT, Miss.–The Port of Gulfport restoration project is on track, and maybe even ahead of schedule, according to a new report by state officials. The report, which is a combined effort of the Miss. Development Authority, Gov. Phil Bryant’s camp, and the Miss. Port Commission, says completion could happen as early as 2016.
The money to restore the Port in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has come in part from Community Development Block Grants totaling $570 million. Already done is filling 84 acres in the Mississippi Sound. Still to come is developing 50 more acres for new tenants.
The Island View Hotel will also get $50 million in investment as part of the commercial development in the area around the Port.
In 2012 some changes were made in the approach the state was taking in restoring the Port and Gov. Bryant issued five directives geared toward achieving ramped up economic development goals. That included creating jobs, maintaining current tenants, deepening the channel so bigger ships could be accomodated, and commercial development.
“As a longtime supporter of expanding Mississippi’s ports, I’m excited about the developments outlined in this report,” said Sen. Roger Wicker. “Recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the expansion of the Port of Gulfport are critical to the economy of the Gulf Coast and the entire state. The Port of Gulfport is well on its way to maximizing its potential as a first-class center of business and transportation.”
“Gov. Bryant and new Port Dir. Jonathan Daniels made progress at the Port of Gulfport a top priority, and this report shows that their hard work is paying off,” said Cong. Steven Palazzo. “I commend them on recent successes and I will continue working at the federal level, with House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster and others, to support economic development at the Port of Gulfport.”
More than 1,200 jobs could result when the Port expansion is complete.