This meeting focused on the two parties, the Port Campaign Coalition and the Port of Gulfport, coming together to listen to each other’s concerns. The Port Campaign Coalition has acted as a watchdog over the port, after the port was granted 570 million dollars in federal grant money that was originally set aside for housing after Hurricane Katrina. At tonight’s meeting, the issues of job creation, the environment, and of course solutions to the issues were discussed. The Port Campaign Community meeting was a chance to bring out public concern with the Port of Gulfport and address the issues first hand. Issues surrounding the use of the 570 million dollars in grant money meant to create jobs, have yet to be solved. Jonathan Daniels, the Port Director, attended the meeting and answered the public’s questions. He is the first director to ever attend a meeting like this since the coalition started in 2007. Daniels says, "When you’re spending 570 million dollars, it doesn’t matter if it’s Gulfport or New York, there needs to be a level of accountability. The port is fully compliant and moving forward. The recent monitoring that was done certainly shows we’re moving in the right direction." The right direction: which means finding ways to stimulate job creation and protect the environment. Daniels says they are modeling the port's environmental plan after the Port of Seattle because of their success at being green. Daniels also says, "Seattle, with their Green Way Initiative, is one of the best in the world. With environmental issues with how they handle storm water, to how they handle trucks and traffic, we’re certainly looking forward to taking advantage of their practices."
When it comes to job creation, Daniels says they need to deploy the funds to enhance the new terminal and create construction jobs. Daniels also states, "We've got subgrade work. We've got structure work that’s going on. It’s hard to see from Highway 90 to notice that there is any work going on, but if you get on site, you’ll see the scope and magnitude of the work being done". All in all, the two parties are working together to build a bigger and stronger community with a strong economy. It was announced today that the controversial concrete plant planned to be built in downtown Gulfport is no longer in the works. This is an example of the community and the port working together to benefit the needs of everyone. The concrete plant will now be built on the ground of the port to minimize environmental concerns.