Gulfport City Council Member Christine Brown came prepared at Tuesday night's workshop. Brown not only suggested "big ideas" like adding a hotel and lighthouse restaurant at the Gulfport Marina, she brought props to help everyone visualize the plans.
“I don’t want to change the character of our city, but we need this if we’re going to enhance the marina,” Brown said as she placed empty boxes in order.
Brown placed small boxes that represented the marina, BCYC, Gulfport Yacht Club and Coast Guard Building and then added a much larger box right in between the BCYC and Gulfport Yacht Club. That box represented a hotel.
"These people don’t have to move for us to fit a hotel there, it’s a boutique hotel," she said. Brown envisions a two-story "Key West"-style hotel with about 20 rooms or fewer.
Brown joined fellow city leaders Tuesday night for a discussion about the Marina's Master Plan. Councilors are already showing support for a new ship store, boat lifts, and live-aboard improvements, which are included in next year's budget. Now, Harbormaster Denis Fran and Community Development Officer Fred Metcalf want council's recommendations for Phase II and Phase III of the Marina Master Plan.
Brown also suggested building a water tower on Osgood Point and possibly building a Sailing Center that could be used by local yacht clubs. Brown emphasized that these plans should include a way to connect the waterfront to the marina.
"We have to get the people from one side to the other, the whole waterfront has to be an experience," she said.
Councilors Fridovich and Vice Mayor Liedtke agreed with some of Brown's ideas, such as the hotel.
Vice Mayor Dan Liedtke added that if a hotel went up six stories, you could see the Gulf of Mexico.
Mayor Sam Henderson expressed some caution about these "big ideas," saying, "one of the things they like about us the most is that we’re not Clearwater. I think we really want to make sure that whatever we decide to put, we’re maintaining our character."
Rather than a water tower, Councilor Jennifer Salmon said she would prefer a lighthouse. Salmon also included Clam Bayou restoration as one of her top priorities for the marina area.
Mayor Henderson said he would love to see an open observation deck instead of a water tower at Osgood Point.
The two-hour session allowed councilors to share and discuss what's on their "wish lists." Fran told councilors that if something was a "good idea," they'll find a way to make it work. Fran and Metcalf wanted to hear ideas Tuesday night. Details can be worked out at future meetings and workshops, they said.
At the end of the discussion, all five leaders were given five dot stickers to place by what they want to see at the marina. Fran and Metcalf wrote down all of the suggestions on large sheets of paper and taped them to the walls.
Here are the results:
- Hotel: 4 votes
- Clam Bayou Habitat Restoration: 3 votes
- Complete Phase I: 3 votes
- Restaurant: 2 votes
- Sailing Center: 2 votes
- Tie into the Waterfront Redevelopment District: 2 votes
- Observation Deck: 2 votes
Ideas with one vote:
- Linear Park
- Pedestrian/Bike Trail
- Water Fountain with Dog Bowl
- Golf Carts
- Traffic Calming on 31st
What do you think?
What do you think about adding a hotel at the Gulfport Marina? How about building a two-story observation deck at Osgood Point? What about adding a Sailing Center for multiple yacht clubs to use?
Feel free to attend the workshop or contact councilors with your feedback about the future of the marina.
- Mayor Sam Henderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ward 1 Dan Liedtke: email@example.com
- Ward 2 Christine Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ward 3 Jennifer Salmon: email@example.com
- Ward 4 Michael Fridovich: firstname.lastname@example.org
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