After more than 40 years of housing thousands of Pascagoula residents, Live Oak Apartments, once known as Carver Village, is no more. Tuesday, crews started to demolish the huge property. The city plans to build new community facilities on the land.
"A lot of my friends used to live here and they hate to see this happen," Councilman Robert Stallworth said.
It was a day filled with mixed emotions for Councilman Robert Stallworth. For years, the Live Oak Apartment complex has been a fixture in his Ward.
"You can come out here and have a good time."
But the good times had given way to a bad reputation. Officials say back when the area was known by the name Carver Village, it was a haven for drugs and violence.
"It was infested with crime, dope and prostitution," Stallworth said.
"This area of town, it is surprising how many people do not drive down this street because they are still afraid," City Manager Kay Kell said.
Katrina's wind and water all but wiped out the old Carver Village. What the storm left was an even larger and more dangerous eyesore.
"We have been trying to get rid of all the blighted areas in the City Pascagoula and make it look more attractive," Stallworth said.
Mayor Mathew Avera and city council members say the city has big plans for the 22 acres once the land is cleared.
"We will be building a community center, a center for senior citizens, and a recreational facility here on half the property," Mayor Avera said. "We will then begin marketing the other half of the property."
The city doesn't own the land, but is in negotiations to purchase it. Still, Pascagoula leaders thought clearing the remnants of the past was well worth the $80,000 it cost to demolish the dilapidated property.
"It is in the middle of our city, so it came down to if nobody else would do it, we will have to take that bold step and own it ourselves," Kell said.
It's a step that opens the door for a bold new future in Pascagoula.
"I think we are headed in the right direction for the city, to make this a better place to live." Stallworth said.
The city is also receiving a $9.4 million grant from the Mississippi Development Authority for waterfront development and this Carver Village Project.