Gautier demands clean up of prominent eyesore

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The City of Gautier is taking action to clean-up a dilapidated trailer park along a busy highway.

It's an eyesore that's clearly visible from Highway 57, one of the main roadways leading to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Along with being unattractive, the eyesore property is also being called "unsafe and unhealthy."

Gulf Breeze trailer park is in deplorable shape. The park at the corner of Brown Road and Highway 57 has been around for decades, but only in recent years has it become so dilapidated.

Metal siding has been pulled off the vast majority of trailers and piles of debris are scattered throughout the property. Storms, vandals and sheer neglect have all compounded the obvious problem.

"You've got junk, dilapidated trailers, which are not allowed. You've got debris on the grounds, which is not allowed," said Anthony Matheny.

He's the city official who's working to get the mess cleaned up. One of the first steps is getting everyone who lived there moved out. Believe it or not, two trailers are still occupied.

"They may not have a lot of other options. So, the city is trying to be compassionate, while we also recognize that it's something that's got to be taken care of," says Matheny.

The city attorney is working with attorneys for the property owners to ensure the trailers are vacated and the mess removed.

More than just an eyesore, the property is also a public safety concern, in particular, a fire hazard. The Gautier Fire Department has responded to two fires at the property over the past 12 months.

"We look at health and safety first. We look at aesthetics secondly. But out there you've got kind of the perfect storm. You've got both," said Matheny.

While Matheny can't give a specific timetable for getting the property cleaned, he does say the owners of the property are cooperating with the city's demand to clean it up.

"It's not something they're proud of either. They want to get it cleaned up."

Anthony Matheny says the trailer park also includes an improper water and sewer system. That's why the Department of Environmental Quality and state health department are getting involved. Those agencies are sending letters demanding the park be closed.