City shuts down Ramada Inn on the Hill

By Karrie Leggett

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)- "They did not make the deadline of Friday, so we had to shut the drive down."

A deadline Hattiesburg Director of Engineering , Bert Kuyrkendall, says the city gave the Inn on the Hill ample time to meet. The Inn needs to fix its retaining wall which has become a safety hazard. The wall collapsed once already about 9 months ago.

"Thankfully, no one was hurt but people were trapped in the hotel. That was cleaned up in July. The remaining wall was in a bad state. We were afraid the same thing was going to happen again," said Kuyrkendall.

That is when the city approached the inn about fixing the wall in July and issued different deadlines with the final deadline being last Friday. After no improvements were made the city shut off access to the Inn.

"It is a thirty foot wall of dirt that is pretty much looming over the drive right now. If that had collapse someone could get killed, or the same thing could happen that happened last time people could be trapped and the bad thing about their site is there is only one access in and one access out. That makes the situation is even more dangerous," said Kuyrkendall.

The day the Inn's access was shut off Kacey Hitson, owner of Hitson contracting says he  finally started work on the wall. He says he took over after the first contractor took the first payment and ran.

"He said the owner wrote him bad checks. Well then, the owner tells me that he sent him a cashier's check. Paid him 21,000 dollars we never heard from the guy again so I come in after that and took over as a general contractor," said Hitson.

Kacy Hitson says since starting the job he has drawn up new plans because the original was wrong. Now with a new plan in place, work can start.

"Now we are back to square one starting the job," said Hitson.

A job Kuyrkendall says he's sure will be done soon and within requirements.

"He has told me he can get it done this week and that is what we are hoping for," said Kuyrkendall.

Once a new wall is in place, the hotel can open back up for business.

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