Bayside Park resident hopes to keep cottage permanently

By Al Showers - bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County woman hopes a massive petition drive will be enough to convince county supervisors to allow more Mississippi Cottages to remain as permanent housing.

A couple of months ago, the board voted to allow cottages to stay in areas already zoned for mobile homes. But that doesn't include the Bayside Park community where 109 families live in cottages.

Mary Thornton takes pride in her Bayside Park property. Before Katrina, she lived in a mobile home here. Now she wants to purchase the cottage she's made into a home.

"Me and my son are very happy, very comfortable in it, and it is our home," Thornton said.

But Hancock County supervisors don't want the temporary cottages to remain in Bayside Park. Thornton has collected nearly 300 signatures in a petition drive asking supervisors to reconsider, otherwise, she says, she and her son could end up homeless.

"I would probably end up sleeping in my car or my shed. I know as a single mom, I can not afford a home. Not only a land note, but the insurance, the taxes, everything."

Thornton says out of the 109 cottages in her Bayside Park neighborhood, only about 20 have permanent homes being built next to them.

"Everybody who is in MEMA cottages obviously can't afford to get back to normal. How can the supervisors tell us to get back to normal when they are in trailers in the city of Bay St. Louis, and they're not back to normal?"

Thornton says she has talked to hundreds of people about the cottages since she started her petition, and no one she's spoke with has had anything negative to say about them. So she can't understand what county leaders have against them.

"I thought when y'all took an oath, y'all would do the best for us citizens as elected officials. And I ask y'all to please do what's best for us and let us keep our MEMA cottages' our homes. And it's my life in their hands."

Thornton plans to present her petition to county leaders Monday morning during the board of supervisors' meeting. She's also urging the people who signed the petition to show up to support her.