City takes action after WBRZ report on blight
BATON ROUGE- After a WBRZ report Monday that showed a correlation between blight and crime, a large trash truck was visible feet away from the Elementary School that faces nearly a dozen blighted properties.
It's in front of Buchanan Elementary School. Today, a large truck used a heavy duty scoop to pick up piles of debris like old gas tanks, wood and other items that shouldn't be there.
Our story Monday showed there are approximately 8,000 blighted properties across East Baton Rouge Parish, and nearly half of violent crimes in 70805 and 70802 occurred within 100 feet of a blighted property.
After a public outcry from residents on Monday, elected leaders heard the message loud and clear.
"Baton Rouge doesn't give a f***," One resident said.
"I think she's doing a horrible job," Brittnay Wilson said as she referred to her Metro Councilwoman.
Tara Wicker represents the area and said she is equally upset.
"I'm just as frustrated as the community residents because we make the calls like they do and are pushing to make sure this is a priority," Wicker said. "Not just when it's a crisis or when the television cameras show up...but it's part of the normal process."
Currently, Wicker said she is pushing to have the process sped up to demolish blighted homes.
"I would love the administration and DPW to figure out how we expedite it," Wicker said. "There needs to be a transferance of those dollars from general fund to these communities so we can expedite getting these houses torn down."
As Wicker saw first hand today, it's not a pretty sight for kids to have to see on their way to school.
"To have to drive through a neighborhood that is plagued with this, by the time I get to school and I've seen all of this, I'm already depressed," Wicker said.
The City told us Monday blight is a priority, and is currently working up a contract to speed up the process of tearing down blighted properties.