Cathy Salustri


Gulfport’s new waterfront playground should open this coming Monday (October 15), Parks and Recreation Superintendent Bob Wiliams said Friday morning. Williams said the city would open the park as soon as the contractor finished installing the fence.

In the near future, Williams says the city will add a sidewalk and an open area for kids to run.

Four beach volleyball courts will replace the former playground and two volleyball courts alongside the Casino. Williams expects to open those on or around Veteran’s Day.

The playground, swings, standalone equipment, and artificial turf cost about $119,000. Gulfport piggybacked onto the county’s contract with the lowest bidding fencing company to install four gates and 535 linear feet of vinyl fencing for just over $7,000. The city used Penny for Pinellas money to fund the playground and fence; City Manager Jim O’Reilly says the city used no property tax revenue for any portion of this project.

To recoup a portion of the cost, Public Works collected the old equipment and separated the plastic from the metals. The city will sell the metals to a metals recovery business; that business will recycle the metal, according to Doug Addis, the city’s Sanitation and Streets Supervisor. Any material not recycled will go to the county’s waste-to-energy facility, where the county will incinerate it, capture the energy produced, and sell it to Progress Energy.