Pascagoula residents happy neighborhood eyesore is coming down

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A place many call a Pascagoula eyesore is finally coming down.  The Belair Shopping Center on Old Mobile Highway was condemned by the city after Hurricane Katrina. Neighbors are glad to finally see the eyesore go.

Ask just about anyone in Pascagoula about old Belair shopping complex and you'll probably hear some surprising descriptions.

"It looks very trashy," Gwen Jackson said.

"The building is in shambles and it is falling down," Laurie Nelson said.

These folks work feet away from the center and say it's brought nothing but trouble to the neighborhood for years.  They say illegal dumpers litter the property, so do rats and rodents.

"A lot of people ask me what they are doing with that over there, and I have to say I don't know," Jackson said.

"It really needs to come down," Nelson said.

Now, neighbors can finally say good riddance to the complex.

Behind the large wooden fence, heavy machinery and work crews are knocking down all the buildings on the 13 acre property.

"It is our understanding that [demolition] is taking place," Operation Manager Steven Mitchell said. "The owner has applied for and received a demolition permit to demolish the structure."

Mitchell said the property wasn't in really good shape before Katrina, and the storm only added to the problems.  The city then decided to condemn and close it.

"A lot of it is hurricane damaged from Katrina," Mitchell said.

The talk around town is that once the buildings are knocked down, a new owner may follow with plans for a mixed use development.

"The only thing that I do know Patrice is the owner is in conjunction with a possible purchaser, and have been granted a special use permit for retail space and town homes," Mitchell said.

Neighbors said they welcome any new business to help bring new life to the area.  The city plans to improve two heavily traveled roads in the area to encourage future development and growth around the Belair site.

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