Officials hoping to clean areas

Published 12:12 am Monday, July 20, 2015

NATCHEZ — Every morning Lillian Harris wakes up to a jungle outside her window.

But she lives in the middle of the city.

For the past nine years, Harris has lived in her childhood home at 69 1/2 Brenham Ave. across the street from 69 Brenham Ave. in Natchez.

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Trees and kudzu, almost completely covering a house beneath it, have overtaken the property.

“It’s growing on property that’s condemned,” Harris said. “Severely condemned.”

Harris said she’s seen two snakes living there.

“And they’re big snakes,” Harris said. “Huge.”

She’s concerned about children who live near the overgrown property.

“We have kids who can’t come outside because of this situation,” Harris said.

With last week’s rain, Harris said growth in the area has tripled.

“I never saw it this bad,” Harris said.

The Brenham Avenue property is one of many being targeted for cleanup, one Natchez official said.

Justin Dollar, Natchez Public Works supervisor, said all of the properties scheduled for maintenance go on a list.

“It’s a long list, but we’re working through it and trying to get it taken care of,” Dollar said.

Anita Smith, code enforcement officer for the city, is keeper of that list. However, it was unavailable on Friday because Smith said she was having computer issues.

Smith and Dollar acknowledged the Brenham Avenue property is on the list of properties scheduled for clean up.

Harris said she asked a public works worker to spray it, and he came back later after a work order was issued.

Dollar said the spray was a preliminary step and more work will be done soon.

“We sprayed it Wednesday or Thursday, and we’ll go back the first of this week,” Dollar said, referring to the week of July 20.

The property across from Harris’ house is a repeat offender when it comes to staying clear of weeds and other plant life.

“I have to deal with this every summer,” Harris said.

Smith said her department recently got a boost when the city hired two new employees to do clean up work on the overgrown properties.

Dollar said many properties remain to be tackled yet this season.

Smith is one of several people Harris called trying to get answers about the property over the course of two months. Tony Fields, Natchez alderman for Ward 4, is another.

“This is just a frustrating time of the year because this is the time of the year when everything grows,” Fields said.

“When you talk about the overgrowth, snakes and vermin that are involved, it’s just not a good situation, We’re doing our best to get out in front of it. But this is just something that’s gone on for so long.”