Correction, 3/23/21, 2 p.m.: A previous version of this post stated that Michael Fridovich is the Ward 2 representative. He represents Ward 4. The Gabber apologizes for the error.
Gulfport residents may have a new way to connect with their city councilmemebers.
Council’s newest outreach endeavor, Q & A with a Gulfport Councilmember, opens up an in-person forum for residents to ask questions and express concerns outside of city hall.
Initiated by Ward I Councilmember April Thanos in a collaboration with the Gulfport Merchants Chamber, the lineup of councilmembers is still to be determined. However, Thanos took the lead on Tuesday, March 16 at a table outside the Gulfport Welcome Center at 3101 Beach Blvd. S.
“I’ll definitely do it again if another councilmember doesn’t,” Thanos said. “I’m committed to it.”
According to City Manager Jim O’Reilly, the concept’s ultimate goal is to connect more Gulfport residents to their representatives.
“I will be participating at some point in time, but not at this moment,” Ward 4 Councilmember Michael Fridovich said.
The event is slated for every third Tuesday, and in last week’s debut, Thanos was available from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m., during the hustle and bustle of the Tuesday Fresh Market.
“We had a few concerns and a few people with general questions,” Thanos said.
Here’s What We Heard
One resident had a concern that the leaf blowers used in Clymer Park were redistributing the debris into neighborhoods.
Thanos made a note to see if the city’s Parks Department could use a more “vacuum-like” machine when leaf blowing.
There were some unhappy comments about the lack of parking on Beach Boulevard, and the height and size of some buildings being considered at past council meetings.
Most notably, a Gulfport resident brought up the distribution of the 600 vaccines offered in a popup at Town Shores, a 55-plus local community.
“To them, it seemed unfair to give them to one area and not another, or to focus on one ward versus another,” Thanos said. “They feel if we offer a vaccine, we should offer it equally to the community.”
The next Q & A is planned for Tuesday, April 15 with the councilmember to be determined.