Residents Share Rebuilding Ideas With FEMA

People traveled to the Coast Coliseum Monday night from all parts of South Mississippi to give their input on how we should rebuild.

Since Katrina, Gulfport resident Sam Arnold has been conducting needs assessment surveys in Hancock and Harrison counties. Monday night, he took time out to share his concerns about his own neighborhood - Forrest Heights subdivision.

"We are a neighborhood of about 200 homes. And more than 95 percent of the homes received substantial damage," Arnold said.

Like many others at the meeting, Arnold used post-it notes to share his suggestions on how the government should handle South Mississippi's long-term recovery in areas such as public facilities, tourism, and transportation.

"Each one of those multi-colored stickers is an idea that someone has that they want included in the report," Marvin Davis with FEMA said. "So when our people start putting the report together, they'll compile all those stickies and look at them, and most likely, they'll be an integral part of the report."

Eddie Jones traveled all the way from Hattiesburg to give his input.

"As they rebuild the coast, I would like to make sure that everyone be on the lookout that they are compliant with the ADA accessibility standards," Jones said.

Residents could also check out satellite maps showing what the base flood elevation levels are for rebuilding their homes.

"They will have a much better idea of what the requirements are when they rebuild their house. It will have to meet certain criteria if they have flood insurance," Davis said.

FEMA will hold another meeting in Pass Christian on Thursday. It will be at the West Harrison County Civic Center on Espy Avenue in Pass Christian from 5 to 8:30 pm.

Suggestions from both meetings will be put in a report and given to government officials on the local, state and federal levels. FEMA and the governor's office of recovery and renewal are hosting the meetings.