Residents say neglected properties swamp Jackson - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

SPECIAL REPORT: Jackson's "neglected properties"

"Our priority is the entire city of Jackson," said Mayor Yarber. "We want to make sure those areas of the city where our people have to go home and lay their heads at night that we focus our attention their first.   Source: WLBT "Our priority is the entire city of Jackson," said Mayor Yarber. "We want to make sure those areas of the city where our people have to go home and lay their heads at night that we focus our attention their first. Source: WLBT
Yarber says he is seeking tangible solutions to the problem, with a focus on homes.   Source: WLBT Yarber says he is seeking tangible solutions to the problem, with a focus on homes. Source: WLBT
Crisler says the only solution is to hold property owners accountable.  Source: WLBT Crisler says the only solution is to hold property owners accountable. Source: WLBT
"We need to be sure the things we are doing is aligned with the minimum requirements from state legislation and that we are not becoming our own problem with our own red tape," said Mayor Yarber.  Source: WLBT "We need to be sure the things we are doing is aligned with the minimum requirements from state legislation and that we are not becoming our own problem with our own red tape," said Mayor Yarber. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Abandoned eyesores are all over the city of Jackson. Some of them, the city owns, but little is being done to change and remove these crumbling structures.

This isn't the picture many residents want to see. Some are calling the city of Jackson "A vagrants paradise." And here's why.

Crumbling,broken down, neglected buildings and homes are what's catching the eye of visitors when they arrive in the "City with Soul." This has been the landscape for years.

So, has too much time passed to change the city's image?

"Absolutely not," said Mayor Tony Yarber. "I think that people understand that revival only happens after something has been considered dead. Our city is in revival and we are excited about that."

Many properties are owned by the city like the property across the street from WLBT.

An old gas station on Livingston Road where trees are growing out of gas pumps. Its front door closed in with concrete blocks. An old Popeye's, boarded up.

For years Three on Your Side has continued to point out the problems.

Mayor Tony Yarber says,

"Our priority is the entire city of Jackson," said Mayor Yarber. "We want to make sure those areas of the city where our people have to go home and lay their heads at night that we focus our attention their first. We are aware of Livingston Road, but we are also aware of Greenview where people go home and these are their houses where they have to go home and go to sleep."

During Mayor Yarber's swearing in ceremony this year, he said he had plans to ignite drastic revitalization to dilapidated parts of the city. Yarber says he is seeking tangible solutions to the problem, with a focus on homes. So he is taking his team out in to the community to meet face to face with residents.

"I think that what we have found is that we all understand what our problems are," added the Mayor. "So, what we are doing is going to the community to try and find out what are some reasonable solutions to those problems."

"I would love to see people take initiative on their own and not depend on the city to fix our own problems," said Valencia Robinson.

"I would like to see aggressive demolition strategy by ward," said another resident. "Also, I would like time limits for boarded up properties."

And the Mayor has heard other suggestions too such as bringing in investors and rolling out a housing initiative plan to offer public safety employees. As for public safety, the new chief has some ideas of his own.

Jackson's Commissioner of Public Safety Marshand Crisler says code enforcers need more authority to do their jobs to help change the city. The city has now realigned that department under the Jackson Police Department.

"You know, when a code enforcer comes on to the property it's not like a police officer coming on to the property," said Crisler. "Well, it will be now quit frankly because they are violating the law. When you do not take care of your property you are out of order with our ordinance."

Crisler says the only solution is to hold property owners accountable.

"And one of the things we are doing is making sure we look at our funding sources and increase the number of code enforcement officers," added Crisler. "Reality of it is we have seven code enforcement officer for the city of Jackson. 109 square miles, 178 thousand people. The reality is we have to take a serious look at this and put our money where our mouth is."

"We need to be sure the things we are doing is aligned with the minimum requirements from state legislation and that we are not becoming our own problem with our own red tape," said Mayor Yarber.

Do you live next to rundown homes or buildings? If so, we want to see them, post your pictures to our WLBT Facebook page.

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