From Common Ground to Possible Futures
Do you love Gulfport? Maybe you’ve attended a festival or enjoyed the great restaurants, music venues or volleyball tournaments. You may even work or live in this lively beach town with a fascinating history, lots of art and music, and growing popularity.
On April 10 join Gulfport residents, community leaders, business owners, and visitors as they time-travel to the year 2030 to envision the possibilities for the future of this eclectic town. This is the third, and final, session of Gulfport on the Edge, a series of community conversations exploring post-pandemic realities and future possibilities for the town. “These events are produced by a team of volunteers who are committed to bringing people together to learn and solve problems in our community at a grassroots level,” says Ingrid Bredenberg, a volunteer coordinator and event facilitator. “It’s wonderful how dedicated folks are to putting time and effort into making things happen in our town.”
“Knowing what people are concerned about and want to change helps me bring relevant issues to City Council,” states Ward One City Councilor, April Thanos, who is sponsoring these events as town halls. “I can also communicate better with constituents, providing information about city services and clarifying what is beyond the City or Council’s purview.”
What happens at Gulfport on the Edge events?
Picture this: One hundred people seated around tables in the Gulfport Casino Ballroom, some discussing what they love about Gulfport while others identify the town’s challenges in the post-pandemic reality. Table “hosts” facilitate lively, productive conversations and encourage people to build on each other’s ideas while creating stories and images about a future Gulfport. Scenes of Gulfport and some of its colorful citizens flash on a video screen in the back of the room. The sparkling chandeliers and multicolored lights create a festive atmosphere for the focused interactions in the room below.
The first two events, held in November and January, provided opportunities for participants to exchange perspectives and ideas about the current issues and emerging trends in Gulfport. The first event, Finding Common Ground, identified Gulfport’s current strengths and problems as well as future opportunities and threats. The second event, Trends and Forces Impacting Our Town, invited people to consider the bigger picture and the effects of change in the economic climate, social factors, and trends in education, healthcare, transportation, and business sectors, to name a few. At the third (and final) event, 2030: Envisioning Possible Futures event, people will explore the future Gulfport and bring back stories and images of what can happen when people come together to create shared visions, contribute knowledge and skills to build a resilient, vibrant community
Now what? So what?
The information and ideas exchanged at these community conversations will be collected and compiled in a presentation and made available to City Council, Gulfport Merchants’ Chamber, and other groups to use in their own strategic planning. Citizens will also learn about community and service groups that are actively improving Gulfport’s environment, businesses, and quality of life. Gulfport’s civic, business, and community leaders are encouraged to participate in and use the information from these events to guide their planning and actions as they steer their organizations through the changing landscape of our current realities.
2030: Envisioning Possible Futures, April 10, 6 – 9pm, Gulfport Casino Ballroom.
The event is free, capacity is limited, so registration is encouraged. https://Gulfport-on-the-Edge-Vision-2030.eventbrite.com
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All photos by Ingrid Bredenberg