Community members fed up with Hattiesburg for not maintaining property

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It's about 600 feet long, about six feet wide and for some community members in Palmer's Crossing, it's one big problem.

"It's shameful. It's a pity and we're taxpayers," said Palmer's Crossing resident Nathan Jordan.

"Mosquito bites, West Nile Virus and it's an issue that we've been trying to get resolved for the last several years," said Jordan.

The issue sits between South Hattiesburg and South Washington Streets. It's an open ditch becoming a divide between folks like Nathan Jordan who lives near it and the city of Hattiesburg which owns it.

"They ask of us to keep our property clean, which we should on our own, and we're asking them to do what they're supposed to do," said Jordan.

With poor drainage, trash, debris and overgrown grass, Jordan brought those concerns to the city council back in April asking the ditch be covered due to safety and health hazards. Seven months later, the ditch is still a ditch and in it's current condition, Jordan says the city is  violating it's own codes.

"Area's in the community that belong to the city, we expect them as well, to keep up their properties," said Jordan.

Jordan says if he goes back to the council on this issue, it won't be to complain about a ditch, but rather it'll be to deliver a lawsuit.

City spokesman John Brown says the city is aware of the problems the ditch is causing and not ignoring the complaints.

"Sometimes things take a little longer, but we apologize to that, we do have a plan," said Brown.

Brown says the plan is to eventually cover the ditch, but the earliest projection to getting it done isn't until December.

"We gave this project priority actually because we tried to move it up to make sure that we address it, so that process takes some time and we also have some other projects going on," said Brown.

Residents say the city has had plenty of time, to at very least cut the grass, something George Perry says he's never seen done.

"I'd like to see it cleaned up, covered and maintained. If they can't do that, turn it back over to us, to the community and we'll do it ourselves," said Perry.

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