Harrison County Debates FEMA Park Locations

So many homes around Harrison County are in pieces. So many families need temporary places to live. Finding temporary housing for them has become Mike Andrews' responsibility. "We have filled every empty slot just about in every mobile home, existing mobile home and RV park," the county's temporary housing director said.

Supervisors asked Andrews to find large pieces of land where the county could set up FEMA trailer communities. Andrews came up with seven potential sites. One was on Highway 53, two were on Firetower Road, the others were near Vidalia Road, County Farm Road, Canal Road, and Lamey Bridge Road.

One of those locations meant Geraldean Toler could temporarily become a FEMA trailer neighbor. She was more than willing to welcome the displaced Long Beach and Pass Christian victims. But, "We do not want the trailer park to be allowed to be there after FEMA leaves," she said.

That concern was mentioned by most of the people who spoke at Harrison County's public hearing. One woman said, "I think we're concerned if this infrastructure is built for a mobile home or trailer park or temporarily housing, it will remain."

Supervisors kept telling the critics that if temorary housing was set up by their neighborhoods, it would not become a long term headache. "I can tell you from our standpoint, these facilities are coming out," district two supervisor Larry Benefield said. In fact, supervisors have been told the FEMA trailers can be on private property for no more than two years. After that, the temporary homes must go, and the land must be returned to its pre-Katrina condition.

"We have a plan in place," Andrews said, "FEMA already has a plan for these sites to go away."

The current Harrison County board has no desire to permit trailers on that land once the two year deadline expires. "This is temporary," district three supervisor Marlin Ladner said. "This is purely for the emergency that we have to locate some of our dislocated citizens."

After the public hearing, Harrison County okayed three sites for FEMA trailers -- the one's on Vidalia Road, Canal Road and Lamey Bridge Road. Those sites had no opposition from county residents.