Private property clean up process ongoing

Published 12:12 am Friday, December 19, 2014

NATCHEZ — Efforts to clean up Natchez properties, some of which that have been ongoing since 2006, got a green light Tuesday.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to adjudicate select private properties in Natchez that the city’s code enforcement office has been working to resolve for several years.

Community improvement specialist Anita Smith approached the board Tuesday to adjudicate lots that have not been maintained properly.

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“Every property in Natchez is significant, and every property should be kept up and maintained,” Smith said. “It’s the city’s responsibility to observe the violation of the residents and try to force them to maintain their property.”

With the adjudication, properties located on Beaumont Street, Buckners Avenue and Reed Street will be among many properties slated to be cleaned within 12 months by a hired contractor through the City of Natchez or Public Works.

However, if the following properties are not maintained within 12 months, they will have to be adjudicated again.

“All of the properties are just about the same,” Smith said. “They are basically overgrowing private properties that the owners have not maintained.”

Smith said the properties are still not cut because of a lack of funds by the city, and Public Works’ job is to maintain city property.

“Public Works can do private properties, but the inmates can not assist,” Smith said. “Public Works is not obligated to clean these properties. That’s an extra duty the mayor can require them to get done.”

Most of the properties up for adjudication have been adjudicated in the past, and have been an on going effort to keep maintained since 2006, which has not been easy, Smith said.

“We’re just constantly chipping away at the iceberg,” Smith said. “We have had a few houses removed since I have been working for the city.”

Properties on Henderson Street and Martin Luther King Road have been removed because of deterioration beyond repair.

“We are looking for success stories,” Smith said. “So far, the grass has been cut on properties located on Zoa Street and Martin Luther King Road.”

But Smith said this is only a small step.

“It’s not hard, it’s more frustrating that the people would not keep the property up,” Smith said. “I understand the sacrifice that previous owners had to go through to get those properties. The least current owners can do is keep the grass cut.”