Preliminary ideas regarding phase II of the master plan for downtown Gulfport were presented to the Gulfport Main Street Association and other city officials.
Arnett Muldrow and Associates, the same team that worked on phase I post-Katrina, were at Gulfport City Hall, sharing their plans on how to improve downtown Gulfport.
Phase II of the Gulfport Main Street Master Plan is still in the works, but rebranding the area by providing a simple and iconic feel is what the Arnett Muldrow and Associates group is aiming for. Tripp Muldrow with Arnett Muldrow and Associates said, “This is a beach front downtown. It’s a phenomenal place to live.”
Adding 220 housing units by 2022 in the downtown Gulfport area as well as developing a trackside district out of shipping containers were part of the ideas discussed. “Whether it’s policy reorientation, whether it’s providing very small incentives for businesses to improve their properties. It’s a combination of these things, small projects that are very incremental and also big ideas,” said Muldrow.
It is areas like the large lot behind Pops Brothers that were discussed as major potential development areas during phase II of the master plan. According to Muldrow, funding resources during this phase are a lot lower than what they were during phase I after Katrina. “We are having to think a lot more creatively about lower cost public sector improvements and more private sector improvements in order to get things done.”
This will include subdividing buildings to add more retail space as well as providing businesses with ideas on how to revamp their storefronts. Gulfport Main Street Association President Jennifer Lee said, “Traditionally downtown areas have been the epicenter and heartbeat of any city. We’d like to keep downtown Gulfport as the heartbeat of Gulfport. It can only grow from here.”
Arnett Muldrow and Associates are expected to return to Gulfport in August with some more final and definite plans.