GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The city of Gulfport will soon get rid of another of its "eyesores." The Courtyard Apartment complex on DeBuys Road has sat empty since shortly before Katrina hit. The storm heavily damaged the building and a fire in 2008 left it gutted.
At their meeting Tuesday, city council members voted unanimously to declare the building a "blighted property." By doing that, the city now has the right to tear it down.
The council heard testimony from a city building inspector, fireman and policeman. All said how dangerous the place has become and called it a haven for vagrants.
Noticeably absent from the meeting was anyone representing the owner.
"They are not locals, and they have used delay and delay tactics on us," Mayor George Schloegel said.
Among the things the owners have refused to do, is allow the city access to the property.
At the council meeting, the audience and council members saw photos taken from just off the property. Those pictures made it abundantly obvious what an eyesore the complex has become.
The mayor thinks he knows why the owners have been so uncooperative.
"It is a situation where the market does not permit them to make any money on a project like this. Their cost of just sitting there is almost zero. We are going to try to make the cost to them a little more expensive."
What the mayor was referring to is the cost to demolish the apartment complex. The city has hired a local contractor to do the work, but eventually it's those California owners who will have to foot the bill.
The mayor said if they don't initially cover the cost, the city will put an assessment on their taxes. If they fail to pay that, the owners will lose the property.
Mayor Schloegel ended the interview by emphasizing that the city means business and they will clean up the town.
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