Yazoo City awarded blight elimination grant

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

The battle with blighted properties has reached a successful marker with a recent grant program awarded to the city of Yazoo City.

Yazoo City has been awarded over $200,000 in grant money thanks to the Mississippi Home Corporation blight elimination grant, which removes dilapidated homes and replaces them with new ones.

Under the blight elimination program, the city will remove selected homes with a clear title. The blight partner, a nonprofit corporation, buys the dilapidated property and builds the new home on the site after the old building is removed. The new home is then sold to a new owner.

“The main goal, once the properties are torn down, is to put them back on the tax roll and build new homes,” said Russ Carter, the city’s building inspector. “And all of this is done with no cost to the city. All the money is worked through the grant program.”

The city of Yazoo City will use the same blight partner as the city of Vicksburg, which was the first municipality in the state to begin the grant program.

The blight elimination grant program has identified 1,062 block groups within the state that show that there is potential to remove blighted properties in an effort to stabilize property values and mortgages of existing residential homeowners.

Carter has already collected data that will be used with the grant program to show problem areas within the city. As of this week, 143 total properties have been included in that data for dilapidated properties. Last year, that total was only 78.

“We are adding to the numbers as we go around and map the properties,” Carter said. “About 105 of those properties are in the initial inspection stage. From there, we move to the resolutions to remove the blight.”

Using a digital mapping app, Carter said that number will continue the rise.

“This will prove to be very helpful when we start the blight program,” he said. “We are starting to get as many properties as we can, trying to complete the city as we go throught all these areas. We are trying to get most of the entire city done before the end of the year and get this thing done with so we can have a total number of how many dilapidated props that we have in the city.”

In other city news, almost $71,000 has been collected in permit fees this year. Year to date, there have been 286 total permits issued.

Six tall grass violations were cited with the owners handling the cutting of those lawns.

Two out-of-town property owners began cleaning up their dilapidated properties before the city began its legal process.

The city has cited 30 junk car violations. Five cars have been removed by the city.

The city shut down an illegal business on Jackson Avenue. The business owner will not have to appear before the Planning and Zoning board next month.