Completion of the restoration and expansion of the Port of Gulfport, begun during the administration of then-Gov. Haley Barbour, is about six months away, and jobs creation is “trending” toward meeting the terms of nearly $570 million from the federal government.
That is the assessment of Jonathan Daniels, executive director of the port.
Daniels said in an interview Tuesday that rebuilding and expansion of the port is “really beginning to wind down.”
As of April 13, $459 million of the federal money had been disbursed, according to Daniels.
New jobs certifications by the Mississippi Development Authority on Thursday brought the total to 557, including 108 from McDermott International, a submersible pipe manufacturer and 32 from Gulf Coast Shipyard Group
Of that number total, 326 are at the hotel side of the Island View Casino Hotel. In the past, Daniels said most of those jobs qualify for the low-to-middle category.
The $570 million was shifted from a larger pool of money that the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) allocated for rebuilding of housing for low- to mid-level individuals along the Mississippi coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In exchange for the HUD money, the Mississippi Development Authority agreed that the port would create 1,300 jobs, 51 percent of which are to be targeted for low to middle income individuals.
Many jobs are in the pipeline, but not yet counted.