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Will the port finally use its controversial North Gulfport land?

The state port will host a public meeting Tuesday night about developing its property in North Gulfport. The 140 acres is north of 33rd Street and west of the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks.
The state port will host a public meeting Tuesday night about developing its property in North Gulfport. The 140 acres is north of 33rd Street and west of the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

The state port will host a public workshop Tuesday night about potential uses for 140 acres it owns in North Gulfport, where residents have opposed previous development plans.

Kimberly Aguillard, media and marketing manager at the port, said a potential tenant wants to put a warehouse and freezer on 42 upland acres. The port wants to hear ideas from the community for use of 98 acres of wetlands that will not be developed, she said.

Gulfport Fertilizer Co. operated on the property from 1914 to 1921, leaving about 12 of the upland acres contaminated with lead and arsenic. The port later acquired the property from Hancock Bank, which hired environmental engineers Covington and Associates of Gulfport to develop a remediation plan.

The plan, written in 2007, includes monitoring of the lead and arsenic.

Project engineer John Szabo said groundwater 8 to 10 feet below the surface is contaminated in one upland area, but the lead and arsenic have not moved and the ground has been covered with a thick clay cap to prevent rain infiltration.

“DEQ is satisfied with the monitoring that is going on,” Szabo said. “The lead and arsenic contamination is not moving and it will continue to be monitored.”

Szabo said contaminated soil in one area was excavated and treated. He said no other surface contamination is present.

The port said it is working with the Gulfport NAACP, North Gulfport Civic Club, Harrison County and the city of Gulfport to develop the property.

A heritage trail is one proposal for use of the wetlands area.

Inland port meeting

What: Workshop to discuss proposed development of the inland port north off 33rd Street west of U.S. 49 in North Gulfport.

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: 19th Street Community Center, 3319 19th St., Gulfport

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