This mess can no longer be ignored

By JASON PATTERSON,

Longtime readers know that I've dedicated a considerable amount of ink to the cause of trying to encourage city leaders to do whatever is necessary to clean up the fourth block of Main Street.

We published concerns that the Gilruth building was going to fall years ago before it actually happened. We've taken photos of things like trees growing through crumbling walls. We've written editorials and shared the opinions of downtown business owners who hate to see the blight right next to the significant investments they've made to try to keep our historic downtown alive.

This week the city passed resolutions starting the process to clean up the problem buildings except for one that the owner is salvaging. Hopefully this means something will really get done this time.

Time has finally started to do the job that the city would not. Instead of being pushed down, the dilapidated buildings on the fourth block of Main Street are beginning to collapse on their own. One both sides of the street we've seen major collapses, and it's clear from looking at the rapidly decaying structures that more structure failures are soon to come.

Now is not a good time for doing any sightseeing on the fourth block of Main Street. You might end up underneath a brick wall.

The fourth block of Main Street has been allowed to be an eyesore for too long. It is unacceptable that the last impression visitors to our historic downtown get when driving down Main Street is of a block of buildings that are long abandoned and caving in. Many of us have gotten numb to how bad it looks because we see these buildings all the time, but take a drive down Main Street and pretend like you're seeing the city as a visitor.

Would you think that this city is moving in the right direction?

It's not fair to those who are investing in their properties and doing the hard work that is required to maintain historic buildings. It discourages additional investment as well. It's like trying to get someone to move into a neighborhood with abandoned and neglected homes right down the street. That's bad for everyone in Yazoo City.

To be fair, the current city administration has cleaned up more neglected properties than prior administrations. Some of the worst residential properties in the city have been addressed.

But I don't understand how the fourth block of Main Street has continued to remain an eyesore for so many years. It's really more than just an eyesore now – it's dangerous.

Some people are understandably sentimental about these historic buildings, but unfortunately there's no longer anything that can be done to save them.

If those buildings are still standing in the new year, let's hope the city leaders make it one of their resolutions to keep the process moving that started this week and finally deal with this mess.