The Gulfport Merchants Chamber (GMC) has selected the Gulfport Historical Society (GHS) along with two other groups, Women with Purpose and the Enroy Foundation, as the beneficiaries to the 2019 GeckoWorld Grant.
The GHS will be putting the donated funds to a new historical marker, and the first of its kind in Florida.
“The marker is going to be installed in the ground, so that visitors can walk over it and read it as they pass,” said Gulfport Historical Society President Cathy Salustri. “The markers we already have, like the one by the Casino are great, but these new ones are resistant to hurricanes and the effects of climate change.”
According to Salustri, the new plaque will be one of the first steps to complete a marker-filled, self-guided walking tour through the waterfront district.
It has been announced that the plaque will be somewhere in the waterfront district, but the precise location, along with the content of the historical marker, is yet to be announced.
“When applicants apply, they submit what they want to use the grant money for,” said aid Barbara Banno, GMC president. “And we saw that the historical society is really bringing something good to the waterfront district.”
The installation won’t happen until after the 2019 GeckoFest on August 31, when an unknown percentage of the money raised during the gecko festivities will be donated to the beneficiaries. The amount contributed is based on how much money is raised during Geckofest.
According to Banno, the GMC has donated anywhere from $4,000 to $4,500 per GeckoFest in the past five years that the grant has been in existence.
“We do focus on more locally based groups,” Banno said. “Typically, these groups are putting back into our community.”