GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Flooding has long been an issue in the north Gulfport communities of Turkey Creek and Forest Heights.
After decades of fighting, Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines received some great news Wednesday afternoon. $15.4 million will be funneled into a levee project and community members couldn’t be more excited.
”My immediate reaction was overjoyed, screams, tears, excitement,” said Holmes-Hines.
That was her reaction to the news that Sen. Roger Wicker had helped secure the funds for the multi-million dollar levee project, which the community has been fighting for. However, the councilwoman was far from the only one who was overjoyed to hear that the project had finally acquired funding.
”It is some of the greatest news I’ve ever heard in my life, and I’m not kidding about that,” said Forest Heights resident Mary Spinks Thigpen.
Almost everyone in this area has dealt with flooding for years so the relief felt at the news that it may finally be close to ending was palpable.
”The last two decades, it has been flooded in here bad, like real bad. We’re lucky we still have somewhere to stay,” said Forest Heights resident Robert Walker.
When heavy rains hit over a few days time, dozens of properties in the area take on water. Even when homes don’t take on water, roads can often become impassable, which is why the community has fought so hard to get funding for the project in years past. Now, they’re finally seeing progress.
”It means everything to the community because we should not have anyone in the state of Mississippi living like it’s 1960,” said Holmes-Hines. “No one should be trapped in their homes for three days. No one should be able to not go to doctors or go and get their medicine, or put their kids on the bus, or have to move their cars to high land.”
Once the levee work is completed, all those issues should be things of the past. At the moment, no time frame has been given for an estimated start date.