Tour Highlights Trouble Spots

By: Renee' LaSalle
By: Renee' LaSalle

The years have not been kind to certain neighborhoods in Meridian. In some areas buildings are falling down, abandoned or undriveable vehicles are in abundance, and trash litters streets and ditches.

In an effort to address the problem, members of the Meridian City Council toured the city looking for areas of concern.

"People are just not taking the pride in their neighborhoods, to keep it clean, and I think that's the big thing we have to figure out, a way to instill pride in neighborhoods," said public works director, Monty Jackson.

A large portion of the problem is funding. If the city were to tackle all of the matters addressed in the tour, it would cost an estimated $1 billion. The city no longer has a crew specifically geared toward picking up litter, and at this point is relying on alternative organizations for this service.

Areas like this are not only an eyesore, they can quickly deteriorate into a health hazard and also raise concerns for crime and public safety.

"Public heath hazards is bad," said council president Bobby Smith of Ward 5. "Crack houses, they'll use them for going in and smoking crack and it's very dangerous."

It wasn't just abandoned structures raising heath concerns. Litter, lots of it, cluttered with debris, and areas with standing water also pose severe risks to health.

"This is a heath hazard right here," said Mary Perry of Ward 2. "If you're around stagnant water and this kind of trash and you're living in it or you're walking through it, you're at risk."

The council says it is taking measures to correct the problems. More than ten abandoned houses have been torn down in just the last three weeks, but a repeated theme was community pride and ownership.

"If we could just make the public aware that this is our city, we want it to look good and the first thing to do is to start doing our share," said Barbara Henson of Ward 3. "This whole neighborhood used to be a place that you could be proud of, and that's what we want it to be again."

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