Perhaps the best way to describe it is like the old saying, Now you see and now you don't! That's what city and county officials are trying to do with condemned structures in the area.
As part of an ongoing collaborative effort between the two governments, work is continuing to tear down some of Meridian's biggest eyesores. Since the effort began about a year ago, 42 houses have been torn down.
Don Farrar, who heads up Community Development for Meridian, says almost 50 houses are ready to face the same fate.
"We have currently 47 structures that are ready to be demolished by the county. This list has been sent to the county and they can start demolishing these immediately."
However, perhaps easier said than done. As part of an agreement between the city and county, Lauderdale County engineer Neal Carson tells us that the demolition effort will likely not resume until sometime late this year or early next year, when weather conditions hinder crews from doing needed roadwork.
Meanwhile, with almost 50 houses ready to be demolished now and almost 90 still going through the preliminary preparation required, officials say not only does the time it takes for this effort add up but so does the costs, with labor and other costs involving the effort mounting as high as $4,000 for some of the projects.
Although taxpayers right now are footing the bill for the effort, don't think that the property owners are getting off free of charge. For those who refuse to tear down structures voluntarily, the city and county does it for them. However, in the end it's the property owners who are still left to pay the price, whether they want to or not!
"Once the project is completed, the cost is tabulated and put back on the taxes of that particular property, so there'd be a lien against that property," says Farrar.
Currently, the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County have signed a two-year agreement to complete this effort. During that time, Farrar says he's optimistic that all of the structures on the list will be torn down.
However, with more being added to the list regularly, he says the agreement between the city and county could be extended and the effort ultimately take longer than they would like.