Exposed pools pose health/safety risk, says Long Beach mayor

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -  The dirty, exposed pools are filled with debris and stagnant, brown water and many are surrounded by overgrown weeds.

"It does have high grass, which could have rodents in it," said Earl Levens, a Building Code Official for Long Beach.  "This is kind of typical of what you see on these left-open pools.  It's unsightly."

Levens said the pools provide prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"Even had complaints about people worried, they have small kids, with West Nile and insects and all," Levens said.

"And the hazard of someone possibly falling in them," Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie said.

The mayor said the eyesores, damaged by Katrina, have been part of the city's landscape for far too long.

"It continues to be a health issue and safety issue," Skellie said.  "And we're just closing in right quickly on the fourth anniversary and it's just time to get this done. They're just nasty and it's time to fill them or restore them."

There are at least 20 abandoned pools throughout the city of Long Beach.  Most of them are located south of the railroad tracks.  Code Enforcement officials are in the process of notifying the property owners.  And those property owners have 14 days to respond, or the city will have to take over.

"We'll get someone to do it and we'll attach it to their taxes.  And it'll be due that tax year, not when they sell," Skellie said.

Mayor Skellie said he prefers having the property owners take care of their own pools.  He's asking them to either fill them up with sand or dirt or clean and repair them.

"We can't recover as a community coast wide until people kind of show some responsibility again," Skellie said.

The city is also trying to get property owners to clean up or fill-in open cisterns, which are containers that hold water, as well as old septic tanks.

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