Gulfport City Council voted at the February 3 regular meeting in favor of pursuing grant money for the Gulfport 49th Street Outfall Treatment Project.
The project, when finished, will divert the initial torrent of storm water and debris, which flows along 49th Street during heavy rains into a series of two wet detention ponds. Prior to reaching these detention ponds, which will be located on the vacant land west of the Gulfport Marina, the runoff will filter through a baffle box – an underground structure that removes sediments, pollutants and suspended particles (like plastic water bottles) by filtering the water through a series of sediment-settling chambers – before ultimately ending up in the Gulfport Marina.
According to Public Works Director Don Sopak’s agenda memorandum on the subject, “The wet pond and baffle box will remove approximately 7,515 pounds of pollution from Boca Ciega Bay annually.”
The total cost for the project is estimated at $1,975,600 and will by sought by the city through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s TMDL Water Quality Restoration Grant.
The Shore Boulevard Improvement Project’s plan to seek a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant from the federal government in 2015 was also given the go ahead by council this past Tuesday.
The $300,000 sought by the city represents half of the total cost ($600,000) called for in Phase I of the project. Ultimately, the street layouts, accessibility, safety, general upkeep and parking associated with the Shore Boulevard area will be targeted for rejuvenation.
“Very exciting,” commented Ward Three Councilmember Yolanda Roman on the topic, a sentiment that was repeated by her fellow council members.