Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced talks with cruise lines and a new storm water management system was introduced Thursday, February 27.
Earlier in the week, Mayor Stimpson was in Miami, Fla. meeting with three potential cruise lines for the Port City. It has been three years since Mobile had a cruise ship at the Alabama Cruise Terminal. Since that time, the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Triumph have made pit-stops in the Port City. That relationship with Carnival lasted for seven years and now Mayor Stimpson wants to bring it back, this time courting more than one company.
“We called on Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise lines, and Royal Caribbean. I think there was always this concern about ‘why did they really leave? Did somebody do something wrong?’ And what I came away with was, it was really economics. Bottom line, our port has been praised by carnival employees, by all the customers,” said Stimpson.
However, the mayor said several things must be done first.
“I don’t see us getting a ship 18 months to 2-1/2 years, maybe…and it’s still a maybe. So I came away with the feeling that we’ve got to repurpose the cruise terminal. Re-purposing it means ‘What are we going to do with it? What are the options to use it for something else?’ We told all of them, we have a cruise terminal that’s costing us $2 million a year, and we can’t sit here and let that just be a drain on the community. So whether you make it into a restaurant or use parking for GulfQuest…we got to explore all those things,” said Stimpson.
The mayor also said the cruise ship lines have become more competitive in the past few years. Some move their less profitable ships around to and from different ports to attract more customers. Mayor Stimpson said he wants to ensure that does not happen to our next cruise ship.
In the multipurpose room at Government Plaza, a presentation was given on the City’s storm water management. The City of Mobile hired Payne Environmental Services to help facilitate and transfer programs it developed to the City. On Thursday, the facts and figures were presented to educate the public about it all.
“It’s very comprehensive. It’s citywide. Everything that touches our water goes into our bay. So, it’s everything from runoff from construction to litter to things that get in our river,” said Executive Director of Planning and Development, Diane Irby with the City of Mobile.
One of the most talked about items at the meeting was ‘MS4.’ MS4 stands for “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. It is described as a ‘separate storm sewer system’ owned by a municipality. That includes ditches, curbs, gutters, storm sewers and the like that does not connect with a college system or treatment plant. It stems from an EPA program and the permitting processes that go with it.