Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Archer Avenue blight - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Archer Avenue blight

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A neighborhood changes with time, but the changes on Archer Avenue in south Jackson have one longtime resident wondering how the community she called home for so long could become so blighted and nothing be done about it; so, she called 3 On Your Side to help take back her neighborhood.

Diane Rials, 67, grew up in this neighborhood.

Her 98-year-old mother still lives in the same house on Archer Avenue after 50 years and she has no plans to move.

"Oh, it was a nice little quiet neighborhood, you know, and still could be right now. Everybody around here's nice and friendly," Rials said. "Everybody around here helps momma out; puts her garbage can out, takes it in; that kind of thing; no problems with anybody living around here. Just the condition of the homes that have been left."

Boarded up, overgrown, abandoned houses.

"The one across the street here, for one, she sees it every morning when she gets up and talks about it...boarded up since before Katrina," Rials said.

The one behind her mother's house is covered with apparent gang graffiti; foul language prominently scrawled on the walls.

Then, there's the ditch beside her mother's house, clogged with debris and smelly.

"And the city says that it's her responsibility and I just don't see that," Rials said.

But Rials says there is a sign warning citizens to stay away from the ditch.

Steve Trotter says he's complained to the city about the water flowing from the abandoned house next to his.

"It's flooding my back yard. I can't do nothing," Trotter said. "I can't get my yard cut; can't weed eat. I can't do nothing."

Eli Cross says he's concerned about the safety of the children who live here.

"Lot of trash around, bugs, snakes, roaches; got kids around here, you know," Cross said.

I checked with the City of Jackson's Community Improvement division to see what manager Claude Smith had to say about Archer Avenue.

"Well, we have some contractors out right now that are doing some work over there," Smith said. "We have nine cases already issued out to contractors and several more that are going through the process, so it takes some time, but we're just asking everyone to be patient with us, with that."

And as for the clogged drainage ditch.

"What we're going to do with that," Smith said. "We're going to pass that on to the proper agency that will handle cleaning up the ditch and make sure that it gets done."

For Diane Rials, that will mean peace of mind for her and her mother.

"I'd just like to see it cleaned up and I do appreciate you coming out," Rials said. "You're doing a good job."

Let us know how we can help you take back your neighborhood.

And, if you've already turned your community around, we want to know how you did it.

Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com.

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