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Are changes coming to Gulfport’s Municipal Marina?

Madison DeVore

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The Gulfport Municipal Marina. Photo: City of Gulfport.

Through an online survey, the City of Gulfport and officials from Stantec Consulting asked residents to voice their thoughts and opinions on the Gulfport Municipal Marina, and what – if any – improvements should be made.

The dialogue continued with a March 25 meeting at the Gulfport Casino, attended by more than 150 citizens and marina stakeholders. “This meeting,” Director of Marina Operations Dennis Frain wrote in the event invitation, “presents a valuable opportunity for residents to voice their opinions, share ideas and contribute to the enhancement of this vital community asset.”

City administrators have said more public space is needed at the marina complex.

Stantec Senior Planner Lorrie Viola gave a brief presentation on the history of the 200 wet slip marina and its stakeholders, which include the Gulfport Yacht Club, Boca Ciega Yacht Club and Lions Club.

“The goal for this evening is to develop a unified vision for the marina through collaborative community involvement, preserve the character of the marina and create a vibrant public space for all,” she said.

She took a moment to recognize improvements to the marina from over the years, such as various docks, boats, restrooms, seawalls and a peninsula currently being worked on for a living shoreline project.

Project priorities discussed included parking, public access, dry boat storage and a multi-story building that can withstand non-storm flooding events, and adhere to FEMA elevation requirements.

As questions about the present, the future and the potential for expansion were projected on a power point screen, attendees wrote their thoughts on slips of paper, which were collected at the end of the evening.

Each table was given a map of the current marina layout, and another on which they were asked to share ideas for redesign.

Audience members could see what the current parking situation is for cars and trailers, for example, and use this to plan their own vision for the future.

“If your table decides that their priority is for a new building, you can start looking at where do you want that building?” Viola said. She encouraged the audience to think about specific details of their vision, using the shape of that hypothetical building as an example.

The crowd broke out into lively conversation, discussing possible areas of improvement  – or, conversely, why they did not want to see any change to the marina at all.

Towards the end of the meeting, Viola asked each group to write on their map the most important thing they discussed. From the concept of implementing a bird sanctuary to sticking with the status quo, each group had ideas to bring to the table.

The public input materials will be used to create a summary report; according to Frain, a development concept plan will be submitted to the city council this summer.  

Click here for the marina survey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Hugh Hazeltine

    April 10, 2024at8:30 am

    I attended a meeting at USF StPete for the St. Petersburg Pier replacement that was conducted in this manner. I wish they would do the same for the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina renewal project. As it stands now, only city staff and a firm based in Dallas, Texas will shape the look of any effort that is undertaken. Local experience and expertise has not yet been consulted.

  2. Avatar

    Bill Herrmann

    April 1, 2024at10:03 am

    What a novel idea! Redesigning a marina by FIRST developing a survey that classifies stakeholders and seeks thier input…..

    Maybe that will catch on!

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