2nd Street residents still don't want cottages

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Residents of the 2nd Street community learned more Monday night about a proposed housing development. Gulfport School leaders and consultants met with people to discuss possibilities for the old East Ward Elementary School property.

"If somebody told you we already have a developer, that's not true. If somebody told you we already have an architect, that's not true," said School Superintendent Glen East. "If somebody told you we're looking to take over a piece of foreclosed property next to the site, that's not true."

The superintendent hoped to dispel rumors by giving 2nd Street residents first-hand information about the district's plans for the old East Ward site. The plans include eco-friendly cottages, something many residents still don't like.

"I don't know of one person that is behind this development. Not one," said resident Audrey Montgomery.

Montgomery said the last thing the 2nd Street neighborhood needs is more housing, whether the units are for rent or for sale.

"We've got a lot to offer as it is now," Montgomery said.

The district wants to add 18 cottages and a four-plex to the two acre site. Consultants say a $2 million eco-grant could help fund the project. The project would be leased housing.

"Certainly they have to make money and I'm for them doing that. I can't see them getting into the rental business. It's not in keeping with what they are here to do," Ben Stone said.

Residents are concerned that the district wants to put too many homes on the property. They also have concerns over insurance, and those are all questions consultants couldn't answer at the meeting. That's why many people who live along 2nd Street believe the Gulfport School District should think twice before it gets in the property management business.

"I think they ought to back up, not make the application and then they ought to determine what they are going to do with this property," Stone said.

The deadline for the eco-grant is August 27th. Superintendent Glen East said residents will know whether or not the district will apply for the grant by next week's school board meeting.

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