For 40 years, it's been home to many of our community's elderly. But next month, the Seashore Manor Retirement Village will close its doors for good.
When Seashore Manor opened in 1965, it had one building. Over the years, it grew into an entire campus serving hundreds of people. The retirement community survived Hurricane Camille, but couldn't withstand the force of Hurricane Katrina. That's why the owners have decided to close Seashore Manor once and for all. They say the decision was difficult, but it's something they feel is best for everyone.
"It's very sad. You have to think about basically everybody moving. It's a little community where everybody knows your name. And it's very sad for everybody to have to leave," says Seashore Manor Director Mike Mahan.
He says for the past 18 months, he's been helping residents find new homes. The Mississippi Methodist Senior Services owns the property. After Hurricane Katrina, they deemed the 189 unit campus "unsafe."
"In this building, every air conditioner blew out of the wall and back into the apartments, and we had a bunch of broken windows. The people that we serve are all 65 years and older and some of them are frail. We don't feel like it was a good idea to continue housing frail elders after Katrina on the Gulf Coast," Mahan said.
Only 55 people returned to the six story building after Katrina. Now, there's only 13. By August 31st, those last few will also have to leave to make way for a new development. But who the property will serve, remains a mystery.
The property was sold to Seashore Development Group, which has no ties to the Methodist home. And while work is already underway, leaders with Seashore Manor say developers remain tight-lipped as to whether or not the property will add to Biloxi's growing list of condo communities.
Mississippi Methodist Senior Services is the company that owned the Seashore Manor. They say they will build another retirement community in the area. The company operates 11 other retirement communities in the state.
"We are firmly committed to having a presence on the coast. We have had one for a long time and we remain committed to that. Our primary mission is to serve them in the spirit of Christian love," says company Vice President Steve Vinson.
Vinson also says that the company is in negotiations to buy property north of I-10. As for people living on the property, many of them still are not thrilled with the company's decision to close. However, all of them have found another place to go.