A life-long resident of Yazoo City is interested in purchasing and restoring two of the biggest eye sores in the community.
But only if the city council agrees to halt the demolition process.
Local resident Mike Fulgham appeared before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday afternoon with his potential plans for the lots located at 3269 N.Main Street and 1135 Grand Ave. in Yazoo City.
The two properties are owned by Harris McGraw, but Fulgham is currently working towards purchasing the two unkempt parcels. But his purchase hangs on whether the city council will not tear down the buildings on the lots, which were declared a public nuisance several weeks ago.
“My contract (with McGraw) is based on the board’s decision,” Fulgham said. “I am not going to purchase a piece of condemned property. I am here to stop the buildings from being torn down because I want to buy them.”
The city council reminded Fulgham, however, that the two properties have already been declared condemned from years of neglect by McGraw.
Mayor Diane Delaware said the board would “consider” stopping the demolition process if Fulgham showed them proof of his purchase.
“That is too big of a risk,” Fulgham said. “What if you change your mind. Then I would be buying two empty lots.”
“The properties have already been condemned,” Delaware replied. “We are talking about demolition. We condemned these properties months ago. Whatever the bankers are going to do...it’s been done.”
The two unkempt parcels have made headlines for years, close to a decade.
The property at 329 N. Main Street is located next door to the Trinity Episcopal Church and across the street from the Triangle Cultural Center.
The property, which is in the historic district, is often covered with overgrown vegetation. There is also a dilapidated house on the lot that is typically covered with vines and other vegetation and has a hole in the roof.
The property at 1135 Grand Avenue is located by Goose Egg Park. A former apartment building is located on the property.
The lot is normally covered with overgrown vegetation. And the building continues to deteriorate. Vagrants were also recently discovered living inside.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen began notifying McGraw about the unkempt properties earlier this year. McGraw has appeared before the current city administration three times objecting to the city demolishing the two dilapidated structures on the separate lots.
The city board gave him a 60-day extension in August. McGraw was given until Monday to improve the properties.
McGraw was not present at Monday’s board meeting.
Fulgham told the board that he plans to renovate the building on Grand Avenue. Once its renovation is complete, he would then turn his attention to the North Main Street property.
Fulgham said he believes it will take about three month to restore the Grand Avenue building.
“But you will see a noticeable improvement in the next weeks,” Fulgham said. “Before I finish the Gran Avenue property, I make tear down (the North Main Street) property by myself. That is not my plan, but I may do that. I want to look at my options.”
Delaware said she is happy to see potential developers interested in local properties.
“But we don’t have any proof that you own that property,” she said, to Fulgham. “Any vote today can’t harm you. Should the condition change and the new property owner is willing to do that, we would call a meeting and do what is necessary...”
Delaware said the process would start over with the new property owner.
“But these properties have been a nuisance to our city,” she continued. “You have no fear...until you purchase, we can’t vote.”
Fulgham said once the legal paperwork is completed, he feels he will be the new owner of the lots by the end of the week.
“(McGraw) called me up on Friday and told me he would sell me the properties for what I told him I would give him,” Fulgham said.
Delaware said she can see the potential in the Grand Avenue property. But with the dilapidated home on North Main Street, it may be too far gone. She also said the home on North Main Street hurts the surrounding area with its unkempt nature.
“Well, the taxes have been paid,” Fulgham said.
Alderman Ron Johnson said he doesn’t want to stop the process for the properties to continue deteriorating.
“I dont’ want you to get the properties and do the same thing...buying time,” Johnson said. “I don’t want you to get the properties and leave them like they way they are now.”
The council did not vote to demolish the properties.
“We all had the misunderstanding that we needed to vote today,” Delaware said. “We are not going to tear this house down today.”
But the board did ask Fulgham to present a proof of purchase to them.
“If you own it, we will work with you,” added Alderman Gregory Robertson.