The city of Gulfport’s Shore Boulevard Recreational Trail Improvement Project received a regional award from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) on Friday, May 18, in the category of transportation and mobility.
According to the TBRPC’s website, “the awards event highlights projects and programs that exemplify regionalism, and recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions that benefit the regional community.” The planning council, one of 10 in Florida, includes local government jurisdictions in the following six-county region: Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus and Manatee. For more information, visit tbrpc.org/about_us/mission.shtml.
Justin Shea, cultural facilities events supervisor, prepared Gulfport’s documentation for the award.
“The idea is, people can walk, bike or roller blade” from Gulfport to the Skyway Trail area through one connected network that accommodates non-motorized travel modes, said Shea.
The city submitted their entry about six weeks ago, said City Manager Jim O’Reilly.
“We are excited about the project because it has made a substantial impact in the city,” said O’Reilly.
O’Reilly, Mayor Sam Henderson, key members of the city staff and engineers from the firm used by the city for the project were among those who attended the annual breakfast on behalf of Gulfport. The group didn’t know if they had won the award until the city’s name was called. Pinellas County Commissioner Janet C. Long presented the award.
This is the first time Gulfport has competed for a TBRPC award in the 10 years since O’Reilly has been city manager.
The city has also submitted the Shore Boulevard and the 49th Street Outfall projects to the Florida League of Cities annual competition. The results of this statewide contest will be known in August, said O’Reilly.
“It’s a very positive thing,” said O’Reilly. The TBRPC plaque will be showcased in the lobby of Gulfport City Hall as soon as the council formally accepts it from the mayor at the June 5 regular meeting, he said.