A lot of news from this past week to share before we kick off the latest round of “Name This Place”:
Gulfport Library is back in the news this week (for those not up on this issue, see the “Backstory” to catch up). This week’s news started with this blurb about the City looking to lease the building from the county. Later that same day, both the paper and one of the television stations reported that FEMA (through MEMA) wrote the County and said that they get proceeds from the library building (such as lease payments), the county will have to pay back the nearly $3 million it received to build the new library. The paper quotes the letter:
“The currently submitted proposal by the city of Gulfport would establish the selling price of the property in its current condition at the beginning of the lease-to-own proposal,” according to the letter from FEMA. “FEMA does not object to this proposal … (but) the fair-market value of the property or the proceeds from the sale, whichever is greater, will determine the amount that must be offset against the county’s relocation and ancillary costs at the new library location in Orange Grove.”
The paper also says that the property can be donated to the city once all the county’s Katrina-related FEMA projects are complete, but since it could take about five more years to do this, it worries supervisors. Their fear is that when they are able to do this, the city won’t want the building anymore and the county would have lost any funds from FEMA to cover demolition costs. We’ll have to keep an eye on this one.
Up in Columbus, the local paper reports that this Spring is the last Pilgrimage for Twelve Gables. The owner of the property told the paper that it has become too much work to prepare the house for the tours each year. The big draw for tourists visiting Twelve Gables is its history as the origination point for Memorial Day, at least in the South.
Down in Moss Point, the Aldermen have voted to demolish the town’s old Central Fire Station building. According to the article, the 1926 building is no longer needed as a fire station and is in need of repairs. The Mayor is opposed to demolishing the structure. The article does not mention any proposed new use for the lot – so it sounds like the vote to demolish is purely because it is in need of repairs. As a publicly owned building, the city must go through MDAH for a permit.
In Jackson, the Clarion Ledger did a piece on the Bailey Magnet School cleaning – which we had as a post last week as well. The focus of the piece is the company that did the cleaning – and how this year’s graduating class will have a picture taken with the freshly scrubbed school as the background. I was concerned that the article mentioned that the building had been sand-blasted in the past – which I hope and believe is incorrect. While there is no doubt in my mind that the building had been cleaned before this recent one, I do not think that it has ever been sand-blasted.
Over in Meridian, the Star ran a piece that was unfavorable to developer David Watkins – who is working on the Police Station in Meridian. The paper says that “Meridian’s stalled police station project is just one of the public use projects headed up by Watkins Development that has encountered problems with financing and construction.” The paper specifically compares the Meridian Police Station project to the Metrocenter Mall and Farish Street in Jackson, both of which are still ongoing.
More news from the Coast, where news is that renovations will soon start on White Pillars in Biloxi in preparation of the restaurant’s re-opening in the fall. According to the article, the 1900s building “will be one of the most authentically restored buildings in South Mississippi when work is done.” Plans include removing the atrium from the front of the building and restoring the stone fireplaces and original staircases.
Do you have $15 million to spare? If so, you can purchase “Gatsby on the Gulf” – also known as the Ramsey House on Scenic Drive in Pass Christian. The Sun Herald says that “the home’s pedigree can be traced back to Newport, R.I., where the original owner, J. Edgar Monroe, resided at Rosecliff, the mansion featured in a film version of ‘The Great Gatsby.’”
Of course, if you have that kind of money to spare, I’d rather you just give it to me :D.
Get ready for the Name This Place contest later today!
Categories: Biloxi, Columbus, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, For Sale, Gulf Coast, Gulfport, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Meridian, Mississippi Landmarks, MS Dept. of Archives and History, News Roundups, Pass Christian, Renovation Projects