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Generational home faced with next-door eyesore amid city's blight initiative

2 months 1 week 1 day ago Saturday, September 24 2022 Sep 24, 2022 September 24, 2022 10:38 PM September 24, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The city-parish held a "Blight Boot Camp" on Saturday to discuss problems and solutions with blight in the area.

It comes amid an ongoing blight initiative that's been awarded $4.5 million thanks to the American Rescue Act. Mayor Broome says a new grant is also playing a role in what cleanup is yet to come. 

As they look for solutions, the city's Director of Community Revitalization Marlee Pittman explains plans for the coming months.

"We're going to be cleaning up junk trash and debris. We're going to be taking cared of unmown lawns, and we're going to be collecting some of the hazardous waste in our neighborhoods, like tires, and abandoned vehicles, and getting rid of some of the uninhabited homes that are also hazards to our residents," Pittman said.

But getting those homes demolished isn't an easy task and requires careful attention to more than one party.

"We want to be respectful of the people who own these properties, but we also want to be respectful of the neighbors of this blight," Pittman said.

Mayor Broome says with the help of community affiliates, they're closer to making more improvements.

"Adjudicated properties are sometimes a challenge because of title issues, but we do have community nonprofits helping us in that process," Mayor Broome said. "We're working with a judge who can review the situation and can come up with the best course of action for the city, for the neighbors and for the person that owns that property." 

For one family, blight remediation in the coming months could mean a lot. After the Clark family recently inherited their grandmother's home, two abandoned houses next to it have caused an eyesore.

"It looks horrible, to be honest with you. It's been there for months now, and we've tried to make a statement about it, but nothing has changed. It's still the same," homeowner Adonis Clark said.

The Clarks say they've reached out to the city more than 20 times. Still, no action pursues. They say it's not just something that's difficult to look at — it's creating safety concerns for the family.

"The biggest issue is the homeless people coming in and out, and the critters... We have a problem with the critters and the rodents," Adonis Clark said.

And Clark says it isn't just their neighborhood in need of help. 

"It's not just here; it's all over Baton Rouge to be honest with you, I feel like they should tale better care of it, and prevent it from happening," he said.

As the city makes more strides to clean up trash, debris and abandoned lots, they've provided several sources to get involved with at the Blight Boot Camp.

Red Stick 311 can be used to submit comments and concerns. Survey data is reflected in this map that shows where blight complaints are being filed in the capital area.

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