Storm Recovery Slow At Eagle Point - - The News for South Mississippi

Storm Recovery Slow At Eagle Point

Bill Knesal's new house will be lots of concrete and steel.

"It will be sturdy," he said, while looking at the construction work underway on his lot in Eagle Point.

"Right now, we're pouring columns of concrete and steel," he explained.

A year ago, Eagle Point more closely resembled a war zone rather than a picturesque community nestled along Biloxi Bay.

Like many of his neighbors, Knesal is about to go stir crazy in his temporary trailer. His plan is to be in the new house, by Thanksgiving.

"My framing crew claims they can do it in three to four weeks. So, if we can get started Monday, I'm hoping we'll have it blocked in by September 30th anyway," Knesal said.

While there are increasing signs of recovery and progress at Eagle Point, stark reminders of the storm's visit nearly a year ago are also easily evident.

Some damaged homes look untouched since the storm. A painted message highlights homeowner frustrations. Spray painted on the front of a brick house, it reads: "What do we do now?".

Pleasure boats float beside storm debris still littering the water. For Sale signs are scattered throughout the community.

"I keep trying to look toward the future. But it seems like each month, the future gets a little further away," said Dale Wilkinson.

Wilkinson's badly damaged home has been replaced with a dirt foundation to rebuild upon. The latest frustration is getting the dirt just right: It needs to be 95 percent compression.

"So, Monday I'm going to throw some more money at it, and they're going to bring out more equipment and try to get it up to at least 95 percent," he said.

Bill Knesal says the decision to build back was easy. He expects many of his neighbors will follow.

"I think in another year, this place will be booming," he said, with an optimistic smile.

Eagle Point home owners we talked with share the same frustrations as many South Mississippi residents trying to rebuild: They're waiting on insurance settlements, dealing with contractor delays, and still looking for home owner assistance grants.

By Steve Phillips

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