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EBR City-Parish aggressively tackling blight, conducting new survey

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BATON ROUGE - The parish is launching a very aggressive and expansive initiative to address blight.

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome has decided that $4.5 million of American Rescue Plan funds should be dedicated to addressing blight. At Wednesday night's Metro Council meeting, two vendor contracts were approved to get the project started.

A $900,000 contract was awarded to Vantage Contractors, LLC for grass and weed removal services, and a $1.8 million contact has been awarded to CB Morgan Equipment & Services, LLC for demolition and abatement services. An RFP will be sent out to find a vendor for collecting junk, trash and debris.

"We're talking about thousands of properties we're going to be able to go after," said Chief Communications Officer Mark Armstrong. "Because everyone knows some of these properties are repeat offenders, for up to a year, we may visit some of these properties multiple times."

Once one violation notice is sent out, over a year's period, the vendor will revisit that property and cut the grass multiple times. While the funding is available, blight court and condemnation processes will still be followed.

The grass cutting and condemnation contracts will go on for two years.

"We all know where these eyesores are, and we're going to go after them as much as possible," Armstrong said.

While the parish has relied on citizens to report incidents, this year it's also collecting its own data. The city-parish has been taking blight inventory and will visit every parcel of property in the city-parish limits. It'll be completed by the end of 2022. This survey will be taken yearly.

Armstrong says the survey is to see what's needed moving forward and to identify where the blight issues are. Citizens are still encouraged to engage with the parish through its 311 system, through the parish website and RedStick app.

"Everyone deserves to have a nice neighborhood to live in, and blight really affects that," Armstrong said. "It affects people's quality of life."


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