JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - New steps are being taken to breathe life in one of the oldest properties in the state that's been closed for at least a decade.
A group of Jackson County citizens and leaders are leading the effort to restore the LaPointe-Krebs House in Pascagoula.
Hurricane Katrina's wind and water beat and battered this near 400-year-old home. Since then, Jackson County Supervisor Mike Mangum and the LaPointe-Krebs Foundation have been fighting to preserve the property, and showcase it to the public.
"We have been working diligently with some FEMA funds to help salvage the building and keep the deterioration from getting any worse. We have had archives and history money that predominately did some engineering work," said Mangum.
Recently, supervisors took another step toward saving the state treasure.
"We approved a contract, J O Collins Contractor, to start doing some work. It is $591,000 contract, and it has two rounds of funding in it from Mississippi Department of Archives and History and some local match money," said supervisor Mangum.
Foundation member Liz Ford admits there is a long to-do list of chores to fix this historic house.
"We hope it looks worse than it actually is. We will start on the envelope of the building and get it structurally sound. You won't see lots of improvements on the inside, but it will be on the outside, and we hope to get this going very, very quickly," said Ford.
Ford said the quicker the property is restored, the quicker her foundation can get locals and visitors over to Pascagoula to tour this piece of history.
"If someone with deep pockets comes along with $1.5 million, I would say we could have it open in a year. I would like to see it open and restored tomorrow, but in all practically I would say we are looking at five or six years at the minimum down the line the way the funding exists," said Ford.
A history museum is also in the works and it's expected to open next door to the LaPointe-Krebs House.
Foundation members said along federal and state assistance for these projects, the county provides a $50,000 stipend yearly for property maintenance.