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Gulfport Harbor Finally Recovering After Being Destroyed by Hurricane Katrina

By Rhonda Miller | Published 27 Apr 2011 03:51pm | comments

The waterfront in Gulfport is showing signs of new life nearly six years after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports on the groundbreaking Tuesday evening for the harbor services building.

"These raised platforms that you see are what is being built in hopes that we’ve learned something from past storms," Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel said.

The docks are nearly ready and the harbor services building will have all the conveniences boaters need -showers, a laundry, restrooms and electrical hook-ups. Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel said the three-story building is a key element in the renovation.

"It’s where the harbormaster will be located and where the manager of the park will be located, it’s the administration building - the nerve center," Schloegel said.

The harbor services building is part of a $17 million renovation of the small boat harbor.

Libby Milner Roland represents the harbor area on Gulfport City Council. She says renovation of the harbor and the adjoining waterfront park, with walkways and restaurants, will be a major addition for tourism.

"I think everybody’s gonna be down here. There’s no other place along the coast that you can drive along the highway and have a park and a harbor like this that are open to public view," Roland said.

Louis Skrmetta operates three boats that go Ship Island. He had 65,000 passengers a season before Hurricane Katrina and has kept running the trips since then, with much less business. Skrmetta said it’s a welcome sign to see Gulfport harbor nearly ready to reopen.

"Well people are just anxious they want to make plans, people are scattered in marinas all over the Gulf Coast they want to get in here, they want to reserve their spot and they want to be able to come home," Skrmetta said.

While the harbor services building will take a year to finish, the 319-slip Gulfport harbor is expected to be open, and welcoming boaters home, by mid-summer.

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