OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - On quiet Porter Ave., that quiet is broken by the sounds of progress, including saws and hammers. The old Porter House, built in the late 1800s and vacant for decades, is being renovated.
The developers are proud. One of them is Joe Cloyd.
"This building is really a jewel. We're excited to bring and breathe new life into it and breathe new life into this area of town," Cloyd said.
Preservation is important. Much of the old wood and flooring will be kept and reused. Construction workers know they are helping to rewrite history. Developer Adam Dial is overseeing the work.
"These guys really get it. Dennis and a lot of his crew really get the fact they we're doing something really neat and monumental for the town, and they like that," Dial said.
Restoring the home to its former glory is only half the battle. Restoring it to good use and putting it back on the tax rolls is the other half. So, what is this building going to become? Cloyd has the answer.
"It's going to be a mixed use building between commercial and residential. We're excited about this section of Porter, it's connectivity to downtown. Excited for the tenants, both in the offices and the residences," Cloyd said.
Just across the street, another 19th century home is getting a face lift. The owner, Mary Kay Burns, has an emotional tie to the home.
"I've just fallen in love with her. The house, she just talks to me if you can say that. When I go in there, I just feel welcome and it feels like she really wants to come back," Burns explained.
Saving this history is important for city leaders, including Mayor Connie Moran.
"It's very important to redevelop what we have, to enhance it and to create jobs. And, of course, put it back on the tax rolls. The board is actually looking at creating a redevelopment authority so we can enhance and incentivize projects just like these," said Moran.
These projects now have a very bright future. The developers are spending more than $200,000 on the renovations at the Porter House. The job should be complete by the end of the year.