Community advocates are continuing to press the Port of Gulfport for more details on job creation. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, the port’s $570 million post-Katrina project was promised to create 1,300 new jobs.
Almost 10 years after the storm that led to the massive restoration and expansion project at the state port, just under 100 new jobs have been created. The project is expected to be completed next year and the port says it has 3 years after completion to meet its jobs target.
But Howard Page with the Steps Coalition, says the port needs to do better, now, when it comes to getting committments from new and existing tenants about the number of jobs they will create.
“The port is supposed to sign a memorandum with each tenant, and it's been a requirement from the beginning of this project," he says. "It simply states how many jobs are to be expected with the spending of this half-billion dollars in taxpayer money."
Page says the federal agency monitoring the project wants the port to make clear what actions will be taken if port tenants don’t meet their job creation promises.
Port director Jonathan Daniels says the state port is in the process of putting together these memorandums of understanding.
"We're working with the existing tenants and future tenants on MOUs that are attached as exhibits, that ultimately outline the requirements that they will be focused on for reporting jobs back to us," he says. "We also in that process outline what we will do to help them secure that information so that they can report that information."
Most of the new jobs at the port so far were created by a new port tenant that began shipbuilding work at the port last year.