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Gulfport Revitalization
Photo: Elvis Santana
Looking to the future is a sign of recovery. Despite the blue tarps that huddle on rooftops across the region during the recovery effort after Hurricane Katrina, residents along the Gulf Coast are getting on with life.

Recently, I drove through downtown Gulfport, Mississippi. It was a Saturday afternoon, and shattered buildings and debris dominated the scenery. Architectural details leaned crookedly on structures that dated back decades. As gusts of wind whistled through the largely deserted streets, it was hard to believe that it’s been a year since Katrina roared ashore, destructive winds challenging both structures and greenery.

Some businesses have re-opened, mostly just on weekdays since there are so few people passing by on weekends. Then an announcement caught my eye: Downtown Arts Festival coming October 14!

Activities for the Whole Family

A non-profit organization has been formed to facilitate the revitalization of downtown Gulfport. Known as the Gulfport Main Street Association, it is planning a day full of activities for the entire family. Apparently, its initial event during May had proven so popular, the association decided to invite people to return.The day’s activities include:

  • A 5K run around downtown Gulfport (www.gulf-coastrunningclub.org).

  • An art show that allows local artists to display and sell their work.

  • Entertainment by local musical groups such as the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, Westminster Academy’s Children’s Group, the Rochelle Harper Band, Startz, and the Broadmoors.
As I gazed about the shattered offices, businesses and churches, I realized how easy it would be to write off the area. After all, there are lots of houses elsewhere that need to be repaired. But a community is more than a collection of buildings. It is the human interaction that brings meaning to life; gatherings animate brick and mortar structures. Community festivities offer the opportunity for people to come together in celebration.

Revitalization indeed transforms life on many levels.

Jesus promised that when He comes again "...God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new'" (Revelation 21:4, 5).

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Center for Metropolitan Ministries. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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