PASCAGOULA, Mississippi (AP) — A downtown parking lot on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast has barely been used since a city spent federal money to build it after Hurricane Katrina, and local officials say it has become a graffiti-covered eyesore.
Pascagoula executives are looking for ways to give the City Dock Parking Garage a new purpose, possibly adding office or retail space on the upper floors, the Mississippi Press reported. The original light fixtures and security cameras were destroyed a long time ago.
“Isn’t that terrible? said Mayor Jay Willis. “It’s just ridiculous. Because there hasn’t been much traffic there over the years since it was built, it’s become a favorite spot for people looking to do bad things and not be seen.
As billions of federal dollars poured into Mississippi after Katrina in 2005, Pascagoula used some of his money to build the parking lot in anticipation of future downtown development. The garage is near the Pascagoula River.
“You know the old phrase ‘Build it and they will come?’ Well, they didn’t come,” Willis said. “It has stood totally empty and unused since it was built.”
Willis and the Pascagoula City Council hope to turn the structure into something useful. The city contracted with a planning and design firm to determine the options.
“I really believe this is going to turn into something that will be very nice for the town of Pascagoula,” Willis said.
The city replaced the garage light fixtures and installed a new surveillance camera system linked to the Pascagoula Police Department. The garage sits directly behind nine new high-end townhouses being built along the river, with 11 additional townhouses under construction.
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