Ocean Springs to ask FEMA to pay for armory repairs

Published 3:21 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Officials here believe the city had control of the Ocean Springs Armory during Hurricane Katrina, making it possible to seek federal money to repair the roof.

Katrina’s winds caused severe damage to the armory’s roof. City officials originally believed the building was under the control of the Mississippi National Guard during the storm and said they could not seek money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair the roof. Such requests could only come from the group in control of the building.

Recent discussions with the state National Guard showed that a Guard unit housed at the armory was serving on active duty in Iraq when Katrina struck, said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.

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A clause in the lease contract between the National Guard and Ocean Springs gives the city control of the armory when the unit is federalized.

Moran told the aldermen last week that the clause meant the city had official control of the armory during Katrina, which allows city officials to approach FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency for money to repair the roof.

The city is hoping to use the armory for its Parks and Recreation Department programs. Ocean Springs recently turned down a request from the YMCA to use the armory for its programs, according to an article on www.gulflive.com.

The National Guard has said it does not plan to turn the armory over to the city until January 2008.