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Gulfport Main Street Association to Hold Streetscape Fair
Public Input Sought for Redesigning Downtown to Give City "New Look"

From: Gulfport Main Street Association     Filed 5/1/07

Gulfport Main Street Association will hold a Streetscape Fair on Wednesday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Gulfport City Hall in the council chambers.  The fair is an opportunity for downtown property owners, stakeholders and residents to hear a presentation regarding design options and view potential products that will become part of downtown Gulfport’s new look.

City Planner Steve Schukraft with HDR Planning & Urban Design Group will present several design options for the boulevard restorations planned for 25th Avenue and 13th Street.  Each plan will present different scenarios related to traffic flow, median width, parking and accessibility. 

“Public input is essential for this part of the streetscape design,” said Johnny Olsen, Main Street Design Chair and intern architect for Guild Hardy Architects PA.  “Once we’ve determined what the elements of the boulevard restorations are, we will be able to proceed with the design for the rest of downtown.  Restoring the boulevards is a big change and it’s important that the design we implement is one that we are happy with long-term.”

The boulevards will be restored as part of a $7.6 Million streetscape improvement plan, funded through a special allocation of hurricane relief-related Community Development Block Grants awarded by Mississippi Development Authority.  The plan is to remove the concrete barriers and replace them with planted medians, similar to the medians in those areas years ago.  The width and appearance of the medians will be determined through safety evaluations and public input.

“Understanding Downtown Gulfport's rich history is the perfect place to start the design process," said Schukraft.  “We've been studying historic images, noting the wide planted medians, generous sidewalks, and abundant parking. Through the streetscape project, we want bring back some of Downtown's early 20th Century charm and elegance."

Additional streetscape improvements will include the replacement of street lights, sidewalk repairs, new street furniture and additional landscaping.

An additional $4 Million grant will be used to repair and update building facades throughout the downtown district.  Information about the façade grants will be available in May, and a Façade Grant Meeting for property owners will be scheduled.  Grant applications will be distributed at the Façade Grant Meeting initially and will be available via mail and email afterward.

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