Moss Point mayor defends demolition of nearly 90 year old fire station
MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point's mayor is speaking out for the first time since the questionable weekend demolition of one of the city's oldest buildings.
We first told you Saturday that the central fire station was being knocked down. Some said the nearly 90-year-old structure was up for landmark status.
The building once appeared on the Mississippi Heritage Trust's top 10 list of most endangered historic places.
Tuesday night, the mayor told WLOX reporter Patrice Clark the demolition was legal.
Loads of dirt and yellow tape now replace the old Central Fire Station in Downtown Moss Point that was demolished.
Some residents felt they lost a piece of history and question the timing.
"I like the building, but whether they could save it or not that was not my say, but I was hoping they did," said Moss Point Resident Bill Nelson.
"To me knowing that is was supposed to be save on the historical society, and to wake up and find out on a Saturday morning that it was demolished, I felt like we were deceived," said Moss Point Resident Suzanne Nelson.
Mayor Billy Broomfield believes the city was in its legal right to tear down the nearly 90-year-old station.
"It was not on the Mississippi Historical Register. I am told it was in an historic district. It was a city hall, a library, a jail and after that is was a fire station," said Mayor Broomfield.
The Mayor also pointed that the board of aldermen gave him the green light two years ago to knock it down, but plans were put on hold due to lack of funding.
"We are no longer in the red, we are in the black and we were able to find enough money to tear the building down without having to go through a bid process, which is under $50,000, so we don't have to do that."
Although the demolition may not have been the most popular move in some folk's eyes, the mayor claims the building was a safety hazard.
"What was supposed to mortar between the bricks turn to dirt, which meant the only thing that was holding it was the rafters and the roof. Our inspection department had declared the building unsafe."
The city reportedly paid around $31,000 from the general fund for the demolition work.
The mayor said an EPA investigation was done to make sure there were no chemicals or hazardous materials before the demolition.
Some of the bricks and the cornerstone from the building were saved to create a momentum at the old fire station site.
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