Hurricane Katrina

Aldermen table Del Castle vote

OCEAN SPRINGS - The Board of Aldermen tabled a vote Tuesday night to allow the demolition of Del Castle, a home that for decades has been the focus of rumors about its connections to gangster Al Capone.

Bruce Legate is the caretaker of his parents' home at 4010 Government St. He said the house, which suffered some roof damage from Hurricane Katrina, would cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring up to code.

Legate is responsible for the care of his father and said he can't afford to pay medical bills and revitalize his parents' home, which has not been occupied since November 2003.

He wants to demolish the one-story, Spanish Colonial-style mansion on the edge of Davis Bayou. But two weeks ago, the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission denied his request, saying the home was architecturally significant.

Many feel the home is a unique piece of Spanish Colonial architecture - one of the few examples in the area.

Legate assured aldermen he had no intentions of selling the property after demolition. "I have no intentions of doing anything like that right now," Legate said.

The board will be allowed to tour the home before the June 20 meeting to assess its condition.

In other business, aldermen:

 Decided to make an offer to buy a section of property on Lovers Lane, which would allow for the widening of the road to make it easier for fire trucks. The offer is an attempt to keep from having to remove a large oak tree to make the road easier for the city's larger fire trucks to access.

After hearing many on the board say the owner was not likely to sell, Mayor Connie Moran did not rule out eminent domain for a small section of property directly across the street from the large tree.

 Pledged $120,000 to help the county with cost overruns on a road project to realign Ocean Springs Road with U.S. 90 after being petitioned by Jackson County Supervisor John McKay. The project is designed to make the intersection safer.