Clarksdale has turned up the heat on houses deemed a public nuisance, prompting some property owners to clean up their act and some to see the city demolish these eye-sores.
The Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners vote Monday to demolish five house that have been on a list of more than 20 houses set to be renovated by the property owner or torn down by the city. The city also removed four houses from that list after the owners repaired or cleaned up the property and the city code officer said they were no longer a public health and safety menace to the neighborhood.
The city received a $50,000 grant last year to demolish nuisance property. They have hired both demolition crews to come in and tear down the structures and trucks to haul off the debris and spread dirt to level the sites.
Properties to be demolished or taken off the city’s nuisance list are:
• 901-903 Florida: No longer a menace.
• 412 Ashton: No longer a menace.
• 316 Pecan: To be demolished.
• 425 Lincoln: No longer a menace.
• 523 Paul Edwards: To be demolished.
• 1215 Brooks: To be demolished.
• 314 Alabama: To be demolished.
• 111 16th St.: No longer a menace.
• 507 Grant: To be demolished.
The city has a defined process where property owners are notified of the city’s concern and asked to repair, renovate or remove a house that has been deemed a public nuisance. The property owner is given a timeline to meet and failure to improve the property can see the city tear it down, haul off the debris and place a lien on the property for the cost of that work.
In other business:
• Commissioners voted to approve James Hicks to the Clarksdale Public Utility Board.
• Commissioners voted to approve Curtis Kemp to the Clarksdale Park Commission.
• After several months of review the board approved AT&T as the city’s new cell phone provider on a 3-2 vote with Mayor Chuck Espy casting the deciding vote. Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk and Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey voted to stay with C-Spire and Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner and Ward 4 Commissioner Ed Seals voting for AT&T.
While C-Spire has been providing the service since 1996, Commissioner Seals pointed out AT&T was offering a cheaper deal and the new contract would save the city money.
• The city voted to accept a bid from Bliss Products, of $8,101.40 for playground equipment for the Riverton area in Turner's Ward 3..
• The city voted to advertise for bids to seek contractors to begin work on the Pearson Street Levee project. In a related matter the city also approved various state and federal hiring processes that will open the project process to minorities and women.
• Commissioners voted to advertise for hearing on Dec. 14 to publicly present the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Clarksdale. The plan is part of past annexation decisions and will also provide a road map for the community in the future.
• The city voted to pay the following bills or claims: Cornerstone Services, $ 2,250; Salu & Salu, $ 600; JEG Ministries, $ 400; Jackson State University $ 250; Travelers $18,915; Lillie Houston, $1,200; Visa, $ 2,073.94.
• The city acknowledge Chapel Hill MB Church will be sponsoring a parade for their 113th year
• Acknowledged a drive by 87th birthday celebration for Alean Coburn Smith at 1827 Sunflower
• Approved travel for Police Chief Sandra Williams to attend the 2021 Winter Conference in Ridgeland, on Jan. 12-14.
• The board voted to go into executive session to discuss personnel and legal issues. No other description was given.
• The city approved minutes of Nov. 9 and 19 meetings.
The city’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be at noon Dec. 10, at the City Auditorium.