Ferriday to clean up dirty properties

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NATCHEZ — Mayor of Ferriday Gene Allen said it’s time to start cleaning up Ferriday’s condemned properties.

Charles Bell with the permits and inspections department for the Town of Ferriday said he has compiled a list of 16 condemned properties.

Bell said the many of the properties are beyond repair and are unsafe to be lived in.

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Allen said he has received complaints from residents who said they want to see the community cleaned up.

Many of the houses, Allen said, are infested with roaches or are being used to sell drugs.

“We are going to clean up this community,” he said.

The property owners will be notified by certified mail that their houses are on a condemned list.

Allen said that the letters could start going out as early as today.

Once the property owner has received the letter they will have 14 days to file a permit and begin work to repair or remove the house.

If the property owner chooses to repair the structure they will have 180 days to do so.

However, Bell said, many of the houses cannot be repaired.

If at the end of 14 days the property owner has filed no permit or has not razed the property themselves the town will then begin the removal process.

Allen said once the property is leveled and removed by the town, the cost of work and disposal will then be added the owner’s property taxes.

If, Allen said, the taxes go unpaid the town will be in a position to seize the land.

Allen said residents who want to see blighted properties dealt with have contacted him.

Allen also said he thinks some property owners will be glad to see the dilapidated homes done away with.

And in the interest of community beautification the town council also authorized project manager Teresa Dennis to seek out new architects in downtown restoration projects.

The council recently fired their previous architect who was in charge of designing new buildings for a business incubator and music pavilion.

Dennis said once a new architect is found, the concentration of his or her work will be to restore previously existing buildings, not build new ones.

The council also discussed a plan that would provide fund matching to people restoring downtown buildings.

The funds for the matching would come from a $124,000 HUD Streetscape grant recently given to Ferriday.

Dennis said since the council approved the idea, she will now present it to HUD.