Future Still Unclear for Historic Homeowner in Ocean Springs

The sign at 509 East Beach stands tall. The house behind it, is a different story.

"It's just really heartbreaking," historic homeowner Kathi Sweeney says.

Katrina ripped the Charnley House off its foundation and tore through the walls. The estimated $1 million to fix the home, plus insurance for the historic site, is more than Sweeney can afford.

"I too feel strongly about the wood and the historical meaning behind it, but I can't afford it," Sweeney says.

The Mississippi Historic Preservation Society says they'll front $150,000 to stabilize the home,  and from there, whatever it takes.

"That's almost a blank check. Not many people get that," a representative from the historic society says.

But Sweeney thinks that blank check is the same empty promise she's dealt with for 10 months.

"For the state to say, 'We'll do whatever it takes,' I don't know that they know what that means," Sweeney says.

For the right price, she's ready to give up the historical home site.

"I would pray that someone comes to buy it within the next couple of months because the grant does go with the property," Sweeney says.

Historical Society officials say they're actively searching for someone to buy the property. The Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen voted to give the department 180 days to either sell the property, or show Sweeney the money.

"Now, I think the clock is ticking on y'all to either put up or shut up," Alderman Matt McDonnell says.

The Board of Alderman will require Sweeney and the Mississippi Historical Preservation Society to report back every 30 days with status updates.