Community Reaction To Naval Station Pascagoula Closing - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/24/05

Community Reaction To Naval Station Pascagoula Closing

Although Amy Boyer doesn't think her opinion will change much, she still wants to share it.

"We need this naval base here. We're on the coast. What could come up along the coast here? anything. We need the protection of the Navy," Boyer says.

Similar sentiments echoed during the lunch hour at Sav-Rex Drugs in Pascagoula.

"I think it's an unfortunate decision because, as I stated earlier, that location is an ideal location for a naval station," Resident John Wright says.

"I hate to see stuff like that go, but it's lived its life I guess as far as the Pentagon's concerned. They seemed to be the ones calling the shots," Hal Vaughan says.

"We don't want to see anything leave. It hurts. It hurts the schools and the economy all the way around," Resident Ray Carr says.

Auto dealer Van Wiley says it hurts his business more than most. He says sailors are responsible for about 10 to 15 percent of sales on his lot.

"It's nice when I see military personnel come to my car lot, because 9 out of 10 of them can buy a car. You've got something to work with there. That's just a benefit that's going to go away," Wiley says.

Ray Carr says he worries more about what could replace the naval station. He hopes it's not casinos.

"We've voted it out once before, and I've heard talk of that. It doesn't sit well with me at all," Carr adds.

Though disappointed, nearly everyone we talked to could look to the future.

"I think they'll keep the coast guard base there and I've got confidence that our representatives will get another business out there that's compatible with it," Vaughan says.

"I think we could use it for industrial purposes or educational purposes," Wright says.

"Maybe some of the oil companies will take it. That'll put people to work," Carr says.

Boyer's still not buying it, though.

"We need this naval base," Boyer says.

By Jaimee Goad

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