Vacant houses need attention

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 27, 2008

Any new visitor to Natchez likely walks away saying three things.

“It’s such a lovely southern town and the people are so nice.”

“But I wonder why they don’t do something about all the abandoned properties.”

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Our visitors aren’t the only ones shaking their heads in wonder.

Vacant houses and falling down buildings litter our town and bother us all.

The issue has come up at countless Natchez Board of Aldermen meetings, but the houses haven’t gone away.

The city has said for years that the costs of leveling all the eyesores is simply too great.

But in the meantime, drug dealers and children are using the sites as havens for crime and play.

The city found the time and money to demolish the former pecan factory when it served the mayor’s interests; it’s time to offer other properties the same consideration through the proper legal channels.

At Tuesday’s meeting the board voted to authorize city employees to begin boarding up abandoned properties.

That’s a start, but boards fall down over time and criminals and vagrants find ways inside.

We know the process is costly, but that excuse has been used for too many years.

Dealing with our abandoned properties needs to be a priority during the budgeting process. Complaints need to be pursued fully. And we need to stop talking and start doing.