Generally, there is a response after a Taking Back Our Neighborhoods report. And the story about the problems a Sagamore Street resident was having with abandoned houses is no exception.
What's different, this time, is the kind of response our report generated.
Reverend Charles Brown invited me to see the properties surrounding his house that he and his father have been maintaining for more than a decade now. Keep in mind the properties do not belong to them and they are using their own resources to do the work.
Asked what happened after our story aired, Brown said, "Right after the interview, the no trespassing signs went up."
You heard right. A woman representing the owner of the properties, listed as Capital Planning Group, Inc. and CPG Series C Investors, LLC, posted these signs on both houses and property.
Brown said he has spoken with the owner. He said, "I have spoken with her and basically what she has told me that she was gonna have the wiring did in the houses; gonna have the houses worked on which I haven't seen no results yet."
What Brown has seen is a snake his son killed and grass and weeds getting taller. Now that the no trespassing signs have been posted, Brown fears conditions will only get worse.
"That means that this property will overgrow, back into a nice, big, bushy lot and that'll be more rodents and snakes and everything; coming back across the street here," said Brown.
Asked if he would continue to clean up the properties, Brown said, "No. Not with those signs up. That means private property posted. That means I can't trespass."
Brown said it also means a further decline in his property value and others who are trying to take back their neighborhood.
An internal investigation of Jackson's Community Improvement Division, which handles cases like Sagamore Street, has brought a temporary halt to the city's cleanup efforts because of allegations of an improper bidding process.
However, Jackson's Director of Communications, Chris Mims told me, "Mayor Johnson will brief the City Council next Monday during work session about the Community Improvement process. Payment to contractors should appear on next Tuesday's agenda."
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