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State Port nearly ready to unveil post-Katrina master plan

Officials at the State Port at Gulfport say a post-Hurricane Katrina master plan should be made public later this month.

Gov. Haley Barbour is set to discuss the proposed master plan this week with the port’s stakeholders and a public hearing date will follow, said port executive director Don Allee.

“In 2003 when we did our master plan, we had a 20-year horizon,” said Allee. “The reason we are refining the master plan is because of the effects of Katrina. I think our focus is going to be more on a 10-year process. We realize we’ve got to build in a more accelerated fashion.”

The master plan is being developed by DMJM Harris-JWD, a consulting firm that has designed ports throughout the world.

Allee said some goals are the same as in the old master plan, such as balancing the traditional maritime uses for the port with non-maritime uses, such as casinos. One important goal is identifying a location for an inland port area to move operations that don’t have to occur on the water, he said.

“If we had an inland port, they (companies) could base here and export out of here,” Lenny Sawyer, the chairman of the port’s board of directors, said in a www.sunherald.com article.

“They could assemble things there and export out of our port as well as import to build things here. We don’t have a location as of yet.”