Moss Point's year for rebuilding

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - "This is where people would stand if they had a complaint or a question or to get a burn permit," said Captain Rodger Mann of the Moss Point Central Fire Station's main lobby.

Mann has been with the station for 15 years and remembers central station's better days.

"We have a bunch of old relics that we've saved over the years," Mann said, pointing to a wall covered in old equipment, including a leather fire hat.

In a way, the station is a relic of the past itself.  It's charming on the outside, but the inside is so run-down the firemen use it for storage, and only the Chief and the Fire Inspector use the office space inside.  The rest of the firemen work out of a trailer beside the station. Plans for a new station were in the works before Katrina but got pushed back due to the storm.

"We've been waiting for a long time to get our new station," said Mann.

They aren't the only ones waiting for new facilities in Moss Point. The Moss Point city government is still operating out of the trailers outside city hall. This is one of the most visible signs that Moss Point still has a long way to go in recovery.

Mayor Xavier Bishop says this is the year where things have to change. Deadlines for completing phase one of certain recovery projects are coming up in 2010. The city has no choice but to put its recovery plans into action soon. Otherwise, Moss Point will no longer be eligible for certain MDA recovery funds.

Mayor Bishop said that although he's disappointed in the pace of recovery in the city, he's excited about the new plans.

"We're expecting these projects to get underway for them to go fairly smoothly," said Bishop of the new developments.

First on the list is breaking ground on a new fire station on Bellview Street. Bishop said this project should begin in the first quarter of this year. Second on the agenda is moving the city government out of the trailers and into a shopping center away from the riverfront.

"That will enable us to abandon these trailers and free up the site for the development that is planned for the waterfront here downtown," said Bishop.

He expects the much anticipated waterfront development to begin this year, along with construction on the new City Hall.

"There are still some particulars that need to be worked out on the site, the plans need to be finalized," Bishop said. "Once the plans are finalized and the details are worked out, we're hoping that sometime in 2009 we can actually break ground on that project."

This will be the year Moss Point residents can begin to see rebuilding in their city with their own eyes.

"Moss Point is coming back. It won't stay where it is. The people won't allow that to happen," said Mann.