At the December 21 Gulfport City Council meeting, council ended 2021 with discussion of “no parking” signs, fireworks, Gulfport’s economic stimulus program, and kudos about a boat parade.
Gulfport City Council could potentially remove some “no parking” signs on local streets.
Vice Mayor April Thanos brought up the idea of removing some no parking signs on Gulfport streets.
“This is about the ‘Residents Only’ parking sign(s),” Thanos said at the Dec. 21 city council meeting.
She wants the council to consider removing the signs – which also signify the city allows parking after 5:30 p.m. Thanos said the city has not regularly enforced the parking rules and covers some of the signs during special events.
“I would like to suggest that we put on an agenda perhaps to just take down the signs,” said Thanos, who represents Ward I.
“If we are not going to enforce them on a daily basis and we are going to cover them on special events I think we should just take them down so people know they can park there.”
Ward III Councilman Paul Ray said he would also be open to discussing the parking sign change at a future meeting.
“I feel comfortable with it as an agenda item as well,” Ray said. Mayor Sam Henderson said he would like to talk to the city manager, city attorney and police about the potential parking sign removal.
Thanos said the ‘Residents Only’ parking signs were put up over concerns about beach parking, but that is no longer a problem.
The council approved tweaks to a new fireworks ordinance in 4-0 vote. Councilman Michael Fridovich was absent from the Dec. 17 meeting. Council approved the ordinance on first reading during its Dec. 7 meeting; they did this in concurrence with a state law allowing fireworks on New Year’s Eve and Day as well as the Fourth of July.
The ordinance approved Dec. 21 clarifies the language regarding an 11 p.m. cutoff time for fireworks to coordinate with the city’s noise ordinance.
Gulfport Rebound Vouchers
City Manager Jim O’Reilly updated the council on the Gulfport Rebound program offering $50 vouchers to city households to spend at local businesses. The $410,000 program is part of Gulfport’s COVID recovery efforts and is funded via the city’s allocation of federal pandemic relief funds.
O’Reilly said the local businesses have turned in $23,225 worth of the vouchers to the city for reimbursements as of Dec. 21. “And we are pushing it out there, sending the message out.” O’Reilly said.
Councilmember Paul Ray said local businesses are pleased with the program.
The local business promotion program runs through Jan. 10.
Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s Past Commodore Don Rogers briefed the council on the club’s Dec. 11 Christmas Boat Parade.
Rogers said 23 boats participated in the parade, and there were large crowds to watch the event and, he said, go to local bars and restaurants.
“We collected over seven-and-a-half large moving boxes of toys and over $1,000 for the Gulfport Police’s Operation Santa program,” said Rogers, who serves on the yacht club’s boat parade committee.
Councilmember Paul Ray helped out as Santa Claus in the boat parade.