Most readers will be familiar with the colorful “Welcome to Gulfport” banners displayed around the city over the past nine months. They may have also noticed that quite a few of them have been lost or removed, with the most conspicuous absence being along Gulfport Boulevard.
The good news is the rest of the banners will soon be up, and some others replaced.
“We held off on the work order because of all the construction on Gulfport Boulevard over the past months,” said Gulfport City Manager Jim O’Reilly. “Duke Energy was also moving a lot of poles around so it made sense to hold off until the construction was completed.”
O’Reilly added that “some of the banners also came down during the hurricane in August and by spring we will have all the banners up.”
The permanent banners feature six different designs: a sailboat, artist’s paintbrush, volleyball, a gecko, dining (represented by pasta on a fork) and music (represented by a guitar).
According to O’Reilly in a March 2016 Gabber article the approximately $20,000 project was funded by the city and originated from discussions with the Gulfport Merchant’s Association (GMA) as part of the Waterfront Redevelopment District’s improvements. Scott Linde, GMA president, “came up with the designs” and – along with Justin Shea, Gulfport’s cultural facilities and events supervisor – worked with the artist Zachary Knight (also the Gabber’ graphic designer) to finalize the designs.