Some Gulfport Neighborhoods Want More Attention From City - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/12/03

Some Gulfport Neighborhoods Want More Attention From City

You can't blame Deacon David Potts for worrying about the cloudy skies, hanging over Forrest Heights Missionary Baptist Church in Gulfport.

Deacon Potts said "It makes me kind of nervous, because I'm thinking how much it's gonna rain. Every time it rains, and it rains for several days, that creek backs up and comes into the church".

The soggy mess is just one of the problems, caused by rising waters from Turkey Creek. Richard Marsh says he's seen raw sewage, overflowing from manholes during a heavy rain. Marsh is with the citizens coalition trying to bring attention to problems he says don't exist in mainly white neighborhoods.

Richard Marsh said "Do you go to Bayou View and find these things?  Do you go to Second street and find these things? No. So why is it just happening in black communities? What's more to say? It's environmental racism. All of this is not new".

Marsh says the city needs to fix the Turkey Creek problem, before allowing any new development in the area. He's asking city leaders to pay more attention to the needs of the poorest neighborhoods.

Marsh said "When you get Ward 1 and Ward 3, the only money you can get to do projects is CDBG from the federal government, and you can't get any general fund money, yeah they're ignoring".

Deacon David Potts agrees there are problems, but disagrees with Marsh's racism claims. He thinks the city is doing what it can. Potts said "I don't see they're ignoring, but they promised that they'll work with us on it". He just hopes the city keeps its promise, so he doesn't have to worry about dark clouds anymore.

Steve Dickerson, speaking for the mayor's office, says the city has done numerous projects, and spent millions of dollars in the communities surrounding Turkey Creek. He says the city is compiling the exact number of projects, and won't comment any further until the administration has had some time to gather all the details.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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