by Hunter Dawkins
With a unique approach at Tuesday evening’s Board of Aldermen meeting in Long Beach, Alderman-at-Large Donald Frazer placed a proposal on the agenda to draft a resolution opposing the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) building or purchasing other buildings outside of the Gulf Park Campus.
“I want to protect all of our assets to what we have in Long Beach,” said Alderman Frazer. “I was elected to protect the city of Long Beach.”
Deliberating on recent buildings of the university at the Mississippi State Port in Gulfport, USM’s Associate Vice President for Research, Coastal Operations Dr. Monty Graham presented a different approach to the Friendly City.
“What we are doing is using our numerous facilities across the Coast to bring in Maritime technology,” said Dr. Graham. “Our intent is not to lose our faculty or students in Long Beach. There is not a Maritime technology cluster in the Gulf of Mexico or even in the southeastern United States. This is a $3 Trillion industry.”
In these remarks, Dr. Graham spoke of how the new USM building on the State Port in Gulfport was done due to the equipment and provisions needed for this center.
Frazer agreed with the deliberation about the recent building in Gulfport, but said a “rumor mill” was stirring around the Gulf Coast community that the university was interested in purchasing another building in Gulfport and potentially bringing faculty and students there. After a lengthy discussion, the Board of Aldermen voted 5-2 on a roll call vote to adopt Frazer’s suggestion to draft this resolution. Aldermen Mark Lishen and Bernie Parker voted in dissent.
In other actions, the Board of Aldermen adopted an insurance renewal unanimously after a presentation was given by insurance advisor Tom Sawyer, two properties were adjudicated, and one was declared in compliance.
A final examination of a property proposed for a public hearing was brought into question. The roll vote was 6-1 with Alderman Parker being in dissent to not schedule a public hearing for the property.
The next scheduled meeting is December 17 at 5pm in City Hall.