More Residents Gather To Protest Demolition Of Gulfport Library - - The News for South Mississippi

More Residents Gather To Protest Demolition Of Gulfport Library

Betty Bittner says tearing down the Gulfport Public Library would take away what's left of the historic buildings Hurricane Katrina erased from the coastline.

"We need to keep something of what we were.  This (the library) stood through two hurricanes. and they say, oh we'll go tear it down.  I think that's irresponsible," Bittner says.

They say it's an irresponsible move, because the building can still be saved.  Nearly 50 people came throughout the day signing petitions for the read-in protest, that's 20 more than their first gathering five days ago.

It wasn't just local residents, Anne McNeal of Mandeville, Louisiana, stopped by to show her support.

"Since the storm, I haven't seen many things coming back for the people," McNeal says.

City and county leaders say a library will be rebuilt for the people just not at that site. They say FEMA will pay to rebuild if the library is moved to another location out of harms way.

Additionally, the city says it had to give ownership of the land to the county and tear down the building to get FEMA money.

But, these residents say they want to see proof.

"I would like to see the piece (of paper) where FEMA says we will not give any money for this."

These organizers say they are not backing down, because they feel leaders are missing something when it comes to this situation.  Bittner says its clearly marked on the stone statue that sits right in front of the library.  

"Right there, those words say 'Vision' and 'Courage.' And right now, I think it's time our town start showing a little of both of those," Says Bittner. 

Read-in organizers say they plan to take their petitions to county and city leaders as well as the library's board.

They say this won't be the last time they'll gather on the lawn to save the library.

By: Krystal Allan

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