Business owner Linda Craig may not be a resident of Gulfport’s Ward 4, but that didn’t stop her from attending the neighborhood block party Sunday, March 13.
“I live in Ward 1,” Craig said. “Christine Brown is my councilmember, but Sam Henderson is my mayor.”
Craig was one of many who attended the event – which took place on 19th Avenue South between 54th and 55th Streets – to spend some casual non-political time with Ward 4 residents Mayor Sam Henderson and Councilman Michael Fridovich.
Numerous residents, as well as Pia’s Trattoria and Boca Bay Grille, provided food for all.
Ray and Patty Bowers, part-time residents of the ward, said they attended because they appreciate the neighborhood.
“We’re very lucky,” Ray said. “Trash is picked up, there are signs to clean up after your dog, plants are trimmed, and many of the houses around us are being fixed up. We’re pleasantly surprised.”
Though the Bowers spend six months out of the year in Delaware, they are planning to eventually become permanent residents.
“I like it here because it’s eclectic and not too gentrified,” Patty said. “There are more and more improvements. It’s encouraging.”
Some permanent residents of the Ward, Ross Beaver and Heather Thomas, enjoy the neighborhood for similar reasons.
“It’s pet friendly, people friendly, safe, homey and there’s lots to do,” Beaver said.
The big news to come out of Ward 4 recently is the removal of the Tomlinson Lake Skate Park, an idea which appeared to have strong support at the event.
“Yes, yes, yes and yes,” said 11-year resident Bonnie Phillips when asked if she was happy with the skate park being removed.
Councilman Fridovich said, “I think the majority of people who live in Ward 4 are very happy,” when asked about the state of the neighborhood. “It’s the people who don’t live in Ward 4 who like to stick their nose in Ward 4 that aren’t happy. We have no problems in Ward 4.”
Fridovich will be holding a town hall meeting regarding the removal of the skate park on Wednesday.
“I think this park needs to be revamped a little so more of the community can use it, not just the kids and for softball,” Fridovich said. “That’s why we’re having the town hall meeting to get input from the rest of the community, especially the residents of Ward 4, to find out what they would like in the park.”
The meeting will take place at the 49th Street Neighborhood Center at 6 p.m on March 23 and is open to all Gulfport residents.