Gulfport officials have chosen the company that will develop and manage the city’s planned aquarium.
The City Council approved the selection of David Kimmel and Kimmel Management Services, a Georgia-based company, for the job.
Kimmel will serve as the aquarium consultant, providing development and project management services, along with operational planning through the pre-opening phase of the project. He was chosen from five proposals the city received since announcing the position in August.
“I am excited to have been selected as the aquarium consultant,” Kimmel said. “The city and the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission should be commended for their dedication to this project, which will be a game changer for the city of Gulfport, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the state of Mississippi. I have enjoyed working with them over the last two years and I’m thrilled to now dedicate all of my time to implementing the vision for the Mississippi Aquarium.”
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Kimmel served as president and chief operating officer of the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta from 2010 to 2014 and prior to that managed the development, design and construction of the aquarium as vice president and director of program management at Heery International.
“Mr. Kimmel possesses a unique skillset of knowledge and expertise when it comes to aquarium construction and operation,” said Mayor Billy Hewes. “This, combined with David’s global contacts in the aquarium industry, brings even greater credibility to our Mississippi Aquarium project as we move into the construction phase.”
The aquarium, an $80 million project, will be built across U.S. 90 from Jones Park. It will feature exhibits focusing on the Mississippi Sound, the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. It will have a flexible exhibit space and offer supplemental programs. It is set to open in early 2019.