FEMA trailers stationed along I-59

Published 4:32 am Sunday, December 6, 2009

Most anyone traveling along Interstate 59 has noticed the recent addition of about 60 white mobile homes parked between exits 4 and 6. Those trailers are for sale and do not constitute the beginnings of a trailer park.

Ty Gill, who is a partner of the company G9, told the Item that the trailers are for sale. Gill said the company name represents the last names of Mark Gibson, and himself for the “G” and the “9” represents the number of people between the two families. Gill said even though the trailers are parked on G9 property, the sale of the trailers is his own financial venture separate from the company.

The trailers were purchased from FEMA by Gill at a location in Baton Rouge and are reportedly only being stationed there temporarily. Gill estimates that within 60 to 90 days the trailers will be sold or moved to a new location. Of the 60 total trailers at the site, Gill said half have already been sold.

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Initially the city said Gill could not park the trailers there, he said. However, after looking into the current zoning of the property it was discovered the property actually has three different zonings, I-2, C-1 and A-1. The trailers are parked in the industrial zone, Gill said.

City Manager Harvey Miller said there was some question about Gill parking the trailers there, but city officials decided to seek a legal opinion from the city attorney. That opinion found it was legal for Gill to park the trailers in the industrial zoned part of the land.

Gill said he has been able to sell about 300 of the 500 trailers he purchased. He said he does not plan to park the remaining 200 trailers at the site off the interstate or make a trailer park out of the site.

“Our intention is to make the city better not worse,” Gill said. “I know the trailers would be a detriment to the look of the city.”

As for plans for development or use of the site, which was purchased by G9 in 2006, Gill said there are none. G9 bought the property for speculation, which means more than likely it will be sold to another buyer for a profit. To make the property more appealing to a potential buyer ,Gill said he has had talks with city officials about getting a service road built from the former Shoney’s location on Memorial Boulevard to Canal Street.

“Whether that happens or not remains to be seen,” Gill said.

Gill would like to see a mall built at that location, but since most Picayune residents travel to Slidell, La. to do a lot of their shopping, he doesn’t expect that to happen.

“At this point there’s just no way to tell what it will be in the future,” Gill said.