Ocean Springs residents voice concerns regarding Urban Renewal Plan

Despite the mayor saying no homes are being torn down, some people are worried the city is trying to wipe out neighborhoods.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Urban Renewal is a big topic for citizens in Ocean Springs.

Despite the mayor saying no homes are being torn down, some people are worried the city is trying to wipe out neighborhoods.

312 is the number of signatures on the We Shall Not Be Moved Coalition petition.

This shows the growing concern over the city’s Urban Renewal Plan.

“We want to make sure nobody’s property is taken from any individual. There is no communication with the citizens of Ocean Springs as far as this document is concerned,” said Jame Lewis, a member of We Shall Not Move and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.

Homeowners are fearful the design will wipe away historical properties. They’ve reviewed the paperwork and discovered claims of imminent domain to properties.

“This Urban Development plan attacks the community. I don’t think it should be at the expense of African-American communities, anybody. If they can do that here in this area that is so desirable between Highway 90 and Government street, they can do that anywhere in Ocean Springs,” said Amy Carter, a member of We Shall Not Move.

“We’re not in the business of taking people’s properties and taking them down their homes,” said Mayor Kenny Holloway.

A video that was on the Ocean Springs YouTube page showed members of the Historical Preservation Committee discussing the plan last week. In that video, members are heard making comments about blighted properties listed as part of the project.

Two members can be heard saying, “We grow this district. Now, you’re going to sit there and put under the historic district those houses that were built in the 70s and need to be burned down right now to begin with. Now you want to put them under protection, do we really want to do that ?”

The video is no longer found on Ocean Springs’ YouTube page.

We asked Mayor Holloway about the video. His response?

“I don’t know, I was not there. I don’t know what the context of the conversation was about so I can’t comment on it,” said Holloway.

In the Urban Renewal documents, it’s stated the funds will be available to preserve historic properties in Ocean Springs.

As this is happening, residents are continuing to fight against what they believe could be future developments.

“We have citizens here who grew up here and all of a sudden, their property is in jeopardy that was written but nobody communicated with the citizens,” said Lewis.

A review of the city’s Comprehensive Plan is scheduled at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center on September 20.

The Urban Renewal Plan is on October 2 at 6 p.m. in the Ocean Springs Civic Center.

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