City needs better blight solutions

Published 12:03 am Sunday, May 24, 2015

Natchez is known around the globe for its beauty, its Southern charm and its amazing collection of pristine antebellum structures.

The latter is mostly caused by a rare set of circumstances that spared the destruction of Natchez during the Civil War. The city was militarily unimportant and had a population at the time that had deep economic and often family ties to the North.

But for many locals, particularly in the northern sections of the city, the town is known for being a place of blight.

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Any community as old as Natchez is almost certainly is bound to have its share of warts, and Natchez is no different.

The battle over what to do with the city’s dilapidated houses and unkempt property has been waged for literally decades. After all of this time, however, and many good ideas thrown at the matter, the problems remain.

The system of addressing these problems is convoluted to be sure. But at some level the problem comes back to the city for either being apathetic or simply lacking the funds, the gumption or some combination of the two to get things done.

More than two years have passed since the city added personnel to the Natchez Municipal Court system to help address the backlog of blighted cases.

Unfortunately, it seems the problems still persist.

The most public case of blight and neglect is antebellum Arlington, which sustained extensive fire damage more than 12 years ago, but has been left open to the elements since.

Surely Natchez can find a better solution, stay more focused or dedicate more funds to the problem.