(Clarksdale, MS) Clarksdale’s new mayor is making good on his campaign promise to fight blight.
He’s using student interns to take photos of areas where there is tall grass, abandoned vehicles and buildings that are creating eyesores.
The photos show a picture of Clarksdale that Mayor Bill Luckett wants changed.
“There’s an example of just a totally grown-up yard that’s not had any attention all year, apparently,” he said.
It’s not the kind of photo album you’d have on your coffee table at home.
But it is a snapshot, or should we say five hundred snapshots, of the blight problem facing city leaders in Clarksdale.
The new mayor wants to combat blight and crime at the same time and put a fresh face on the Delta city,
“I know that a clean town looks like it’s opened for business. And a dirty one looks like it’s closed for business.”
Luckett is taking a fresh approach to an old problem.
He brought in eight students as interns, then gave them each a camera phone and a list of unsightly locations to photograph.
Intern Londyn Jones has snapped all kinds of code violations in just the last month.
“Cars in the yard, grass over six feet tall and you know, just junk everywhere.”
The mayor’s push for a cleaner Clarksdale is getting a “thumbs up” from Pastor Howard Eckford of Lamb of God COGIC.
The abandoned house next to his church caught fire a few days ago and the pastor asked the new mayor for help in getting the charred mess removed.
Pastor Eckford says he got a friendly reception at Clarksdale City Hall.
“So far he has been a good person to talk to and to work with. And he’s showing an interest in trying to help us.”
Heather Williams, the mayor’s assistant, has cataloged the pictures and is contacting property owners to advise them of possible legal action.
The Mayor says the city has to follow due process before taking control of any blighted property.
If the city has to do any cleaning up, the property’s owner will have to foot the bill.
The mayor says no one is above the law and he’s not hesitant to tell his friends to clean up their property,
“So I’m sure I’ll have some dirty looks and it might cost me a few votes of I decide to run again.”