Thirty years of a covered shopping center comes to an end as the first beam falls from downtown Pascagoula.
Scranton's Owner Richard Chenoweth is for taking the canopy down.
"I think it will really take the cave light atmosphere out of downtown," he said.
But resident Doris Miller has protested the removal because of how much the project would cost. She saw it go up in 1973.
"I thought it would do a good job and it has. But I know in time they think they'll have more parking by taking it down."
Workers got an early start removing the canopy from the west side of the shopping center.
Pascagoula's property maintenance supervisor Don Bennett said, "It's a major job. It takes a lot of thinking. You have to think every move because the beams are heavy and people can get hurt easily."
The city of Pascagoula picked a special crew to complete the demolition to ensure no storefronts along the strip receive any damage.
"The more we talked about it and the more people we talked to, we became more confident we could take it down safely," said Don Bennett.
The city decided to use 13 of their own workers rather than hiring an outside company for the project. That decision saved the city thousands of dollars. The city originally thought it would cost in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But now, using city crews, they have lowered that to an estimated 75 thousand dollars making people like Doris Miller a lot happier about removing the canopy.
With critics aside, the canopy is halfway down and the future looks good for the downtown plaza.
"I think it will bring the businesses that are needed down here. I don't forecast that this area will come back the way it used to be. I think it's going to look better eventually," said Richard Chenoweth.
City crews are working 10 hour shifts this weekend and next weekend to get the job done quickly. City Manager Kay Johnson hopes to complete the most of the main street renovation by Mardi Gras.
By Jennifer Holliman