Downtown Gulfport is booming, and to encourage small businesses to grow, the Coast Chamber, along with the Main Street Association, handed out $15,000 in grants at Wednesday morning’s breakfast to businesses like Murky Waters Blues & BBQ.
The restaurant received a $1,500 grant that will go towards a new refrigerator. Brandon Atwell, owner of Murky Waters, says, "Equipment, especially refrigeration, and kitchens, and restaurants are very expensive and sometimes you can’t always use your cash load to offset, so it’s always nice to get grants like this."
Murky Waters has found so much success in its barbeque and blues that it’s expanding to Ocean Springs. Atwell says it wouldn’t be possible without the help from community partners. He also says, "Main Street is probably one of the best programs we have with the City of Gulfport. Lisa Bradley, she’s done a great job. You know, it’s gonna’ be hard to fill that spot."
Bradley, the manager of the organization, is leaving Main Street after eight years of service and received a standing ovation Wednesday morning’s meeting for her work, but says development in Gulfport will go on without her, especially for residential.
Bradley closes, "I think people are beginning to recognize Gulfport as a great place to live and great place to have fun. We’re just hoping more people will move downtown, use those businesses, and stabilize the entire district.”
Residential plans include restoring the second floors of old buildings into lofts, creating a safe and fun place to live for future residents. The chamber also recognized first responders and law enforcement at the breakfast, awarding them for helping others in the community.