City of Plaquemine ridding streets of blight
PLAQUEMINE -There's a big change happening along the streets of one town. Neglected and abandoned houses dot parts of Plaquemine. Soon, many will be gone because of a stern new plan to rid the city of blight.
Since January of last year the City of Plaquemine found 100 dilapidated homes that need to come down. So far, four are gone. Two more are being demolished right now near the intersection of W.W. Harleaux and Ferdinand.
"Blighted houses, they become crack houses, drug houses, we have a few homeless people and they migrate to these houses,” said Mayor Edwin Reeves.
Mayor Reeves says the city took over the two latest properties nearly ten years ago. Back then, they'd already been neglected for years. Finally, something's being done.
"I said, lets get them on the agenda,” said Mayor Reeves.
“It is a good thing in a way that we can bring new development here, track some new businesses maybe some families,” said Charley Robinson who moved to Plaquemine five years ago.
Robinson says it’s easy to notice the abandoned houses.
“It definitely doesn't put us in a good light.”
But he’s taking a different approach to cleaning up the area, fixing up a home that has been neglected for 20 years.
“I noticed this house when I was 17 years old, and it was for sale,” said Robinson. “Obviously, someone beat me to it. I didn't have the means to buy it when I was 17. It just so happened that I got lucky and was able to get it later when it was adjudicated to the parish."
For structures worse off, the city says it’s a tedious process, physically and lawfully, to demolish them.
“It’s about a nine-month process to get through the court system, the legal system,” said Mayor Reeves.
"We have to find out who is the owner of the property," adds Lenora Crawford, the city inspector. "We find out if there are any liens on the property, we have a public hearing, we issue out a bid for demolish once we condemn the property and the lowest bid we get we have them tear it down."
With 94 eyesores to go, the Mayor knows it will take a while before the city becomes blight-less. Until then, they'll keep plying board-by-board.
“We're going to get it done,” he said.
The city says abandoned cars are also becoming an issue in Plaquemine. In the last 14 months, they have issued 400 notices for them.