Katrina leveled VFW Post 2434 on Biloxi's Howard Avenue. Now members of the post want to rebuild at a site about 500 feet east of the old location. But some residents who live close to the new proposed site are saying "not in my backyard."
VFW Post 2434 is now housed in a trailer at its old site on Howard Avenue. Developers of the Tivoli want to buy up that property. Post leaders say if the property is sold it could help them rebuild.
"Without the sale of our property, which includes our ability to move to the corner of Howard and Kuhn Street, we do not have the financial ability to rebuild the site," said David Wheeler, an attorney for the VFW.
But at least two families who live nearby say if the VFW builds at the proposed site, their property values will go down. Stanton Fountain is the families' attorney.
"Another thing that's missing in this whole application is that there's no permit being sought for an accessory bar or a bar to be placed at the VFW. They candidly admitted at a public hearing with the Planning Commission that they intend to sell beer," Fountain said.
"As far back as any of us can remember, we have never been cited for a violation for noise or an alcohol related problem," Wheeler said.
Fountain said building at the proposed site would stunt rebuilding of homes in the area.
"This area around Kuhn Street and Sofie Street is an area that's trying to get some legs underneath it and trying to walk as a residential area. If we start introducing promotion type ventures, and or clubs or lodge type ventures such as the VFW, in that area, it's going to have a detrimental affect on the development of this residential area," Fountain said.
Leaders of the VFW say they've been a community partner and have done a lot of good for the area--before and after Katrina.
The City Council has the final say in the matter and is set to address the issue at next Tuesday's meeting.