NAACP slams Hattiesburg

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Rev. Nathan Jordan with the Forrest County NAACP says there's a growing problem right outside 339 South Chancellor St., the home of his friend and church member Mr. Smith.

"We have a communication failure between city hall and the resident here," said Jordan.

Smith, a disabled Army veteran, has lived in his Palmers Crossing home for the last 3 years, and for the last 3 months has been fighting with city hall to put in culverts to do away with the ditch in front of his home.

"Mr. Smith has a riding mower, but he has a physical condition he cannot weed-eat, he cannot use his weed eater. If the culverts were here he be able to maintain his lawn all the way out to the street," said Jordan.

Jordan said a water leak from the city's right-of-way has been feeding into the ditch, attracting animals like snakes and mosquitos. The city is aware of a request for a culvert, but not a water leak. Jordan said nothing has been done since they began contacting the city a few months ago.

The problems don't stop in one man's front yard. Jordan accused the city of ignoring the entire community on certain issues, pointing out a pile of debris and trash he said the city was supposed to pick up long ago.

"It's a problem because city hall will not take care of the needs of the family and the community here," said Jordan.

"There are places there where we've made great stride there," said Hattiesburg city spokesman John Brown.

Brown said millions of dollars have been spent in the community upgrading infrastructure and the city is certainly not turning a blind eye to concerns of residents.

"Sometimes it gets frustrating for the residents," said Brown, "and we apologize for it, but I know we'll get on these issues that they address."

Jordan said he is tired of the crawling pace from the city to get the issues addressed.

"So that we can be dressed up and look as good as any other part of the city of Hattiesburg," says Jordan.

Jordan said his next step could be a lawsuit. Meanwhile, Brown said the city is doing the best it can, and plans to have the problems fixed.

"If they do their part, then we need to do our part and that's certainly what we're going to do," said Brown.

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