Soria City Residents Upset With City Over Community Center

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- "We've basically been shut down." Dorothy McClendon reflects the sentiment of many Soria City residents concerning plans to expand the area community center.

McClendon is President of the Soria City Civic Organization, and says a plan to expand was agreed upon after the storm. But, she says, changes were made without the community having input.

"We asked to see the final drawing before the bids went out and we were not allowed to do that," said McClendon.

Residents say the final plans included seven bathrooms they weren't told about. McClendon said the bathrooms would take up most of the floor space the new wing would provide, which was the reason for expanding in the first place.

But the city's project manager, David VicNair, said residents were aware of plans for the bathrooms as far back as August. He said there were many meetings between the Director of Leisure Services and the group regarding the plans.

According to VicNair, the architect for the project said the bathrooms were needed to meet code standards for the building's occupancy. But residents of Soria City say the issue goes far beyond adding extra bathrooms.

"We live here. We know our needs and they don't," said McClendon.