Residents Appalled At Turkey Creek Presentation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/06/05

Residents Appalled At Turkey Creek Presentation

The Mobile district of the Army Corps of Engineers presented a flood reduction concept which included several components.

Those components included adding two levees, ridding the debris of a little more than five miles within the creek, and the voluntary relocation of 17 structures in the Turkey Creek area.

But the plan was only presented on slides, and residents say they were not given any previous information to formulate their opinions.

"There's no information. I mean there is nothing written for us to look at and digest and respond to, which is exactly what we asked for over 16 months ago. They haven't clarified what the scope of the study is, they haven't clarified what the totality of the problem is," said Turkey Creek resident Derrick Evans.

And without that clarification, many residents did not believe they could voice intelligent comments or opinions regarding the plan, leading some to call the meeting a waste of time.

Even some community leaders were concerned with the way this information was presented.

"Since it was so confusing to us tonight, we're not able to share anything with our constituents because we don't know," said Representative Frances Fredericks of Gulfport.

The Corps representatives say they understand the concerns.

"We have been working at this project for a long time with the residents and Gulfport and all the affected citizens, but clearly we need to do more in terms of conveying where we are on the process. And we're going to do that. We will work more closely with our focus group and with the local officials to get across where we are in the plan, and then bring or come back down and talk to the citizens to seek their input," said Army Corps of Engineers Col. Pete Taylor.

But until then, residents say the same questions asked of the corps back in 2002 remain unanswered, and they are running out of patience waiting on the answers.

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to put together a draft concept that'll be presented to citizens in writing ahead of time.

Corps engineers say they will have another meeting to discuss the plan after residents have had time to form their opinions.

The final plan is scheduled for completion in August.

By Karla Redditte

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