Pass Christian Residents Seek Permits to Demolish, Rebuild

As many South Mississippi residents know all too well, the rebuilding process is a painstaking one. While the basic necessities of sewage and water have been restored in many storm-battered areas, some residents say their lives will remain on hold until they get the okay to level their homes so they can rebuild.

A demolition crew began tearing down what's left of Casey Mechum's Pass Christian home off Menge Avenue Tuesday afternoon, but after attending a city meeting, Mechum rushed home to stop the work.

"We had a city town meeting. They told me no. I had to run back to my house and ask them to stop tearing down my house because they told me no, I couldn't demolish my house," Mechum said.

Mechum, her daughter and granddaughter have been living in a trailer behind the site where their home once stood. Mechum says water and sewage have been restored to the area, and they're eager to rebuild, but they feel the city has thrown up a road block.

At Tuesday's meeting, Pass Christian's code administrator says it will be two weeks before the city issues demolition permits. Mechum says she hopes that's an accurate time table.

"Wait to hear. Like she said, two more weeks before I can demolish my home. She said that two weeks ago. Everytime I go to the meeting it's two weeks, and I'm ready to go ahead on with our lives," Mechum said.

In the meantime, Mechum and many other residents in the area who have basic necessities such as water and sewer, are on standby, waiting for the city's permission to tear down so they can rebuild. Mechum and her family, like many others in the area, can only hope there are brighter days ahead.

"I'm ready to rebuild now. The longer it goes on, you're going to have people leaving out of Pass Christian, because people are going to be frustrated," Mechum said.

At Tuesday's city meeting, Pass Christian officials said they'd try their best to work with residents on a case-by-case basis concerning demolition, but admitted they're facing many challenges because of a staffing shortage since the storm.