New Pass Christian City Hall open for business - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New Pass Christian City Hall open for business

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - "Should I open the blinds for you?" Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott asked as he stood by his window.

On Wednesday, the mayor proudly showed off the view from his new office. Five years after Katrina destroyed the old Pass Christian City Hall, the new city hall is back on Scenic Drive and officially open for business.

"It's like a new life starting," McDermott said. "It's going to take us awhile to get normal, but you can check these people's attitudes. It's different I can tell you that. It's been the best attitude adjustment that I've seen in quite awhile."

You could sense the excitement as employees scurried about, unpacking boxes of supplies while trying to conduct city business. It was a big adjustment for the employees in the Permitting and Code Office. Before Katrina, they worked in a separate building.

"It's a big difference. At least I get to see all the employees here in the city hall. We're all one big family here," said Code Clerk Debra Welch.

The city's Water Department is also moving in to the 8,000 square foot building.

"Just the whole new building. We were in a double-wide trailer," said Water Billing Supervisor Gloria King. "Yeah, it's a big difference. We don't have to run when it comes to bad weather."

At times, the move evoked some emotions, especially when employees came across pictures of the past.

"That was the Water Department before Katrina," King said, as she flipped through some photos. "It just brings everything back, all the devastation and all the heartbreak."

But the mayor said city hall's triumphant return is a symbol of hope and recovery for all citizens in the Pass.

"Everybody was affected one way or another by this hurricane," said McDermott. "So this has been a long road back. And we knew it; it's going to be a long road still to go."

Pass Christian City Hall is part of a complex that includes the library and city court. All three buildings will be dedicated on July 23.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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