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Ala. firm to tear down veterans home in Gulfport

An Alabama company has won a government contract to tear down a hurricane-damaged veterans home near the beach in Gulfport.

The General Services Administration said Thursday that the $7.5 million contract to Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe Enterprises (LCITE) Inc. of Samson, Ala.

The GSA said the demolition of the Armed Forces Retirement Home should begin soon and be completed by January.

The GSA said the contract is the first step in the rebuilding of the veterans home, with a target date for completion in May 2010.

The home’s 419 residents were evacuated before Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005. The home took 4 feet of water from Katrina, even though it sits 27 feet above sea level on a beachfront plateau in Gulfport, officials said.

The director’s home, the guard house and several other homes along the south fence that faces the beach were destroyed. The chapel sustained heavy damage, and the walkway that crossed U.S. 90 to the beach was nearly ripped down.

Residents were moved the day after the storm to the Washington, D.C., Armed Forces Retirement Home, which is the Gulfport home’s counterpart in the two-home system.