Is the abandoned St. Andrews golf course a danger to the public?

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - What was once a pristine playground is now being called an ugly eyesore by the people who live in St. Andrews. The condition of the clubhouse and pool reflect badly on the entire neighborhood. Weeds have grown many areas, and vandalism is a growing concern.

Is the property a danger? County officials say yes. Tommy Fortenberry is a county zoning officer.

"It is a menace to public health and safety," Fortenberry said. "The pool is green, it's unsecured. The chemical room is unsecured, there's chemical containers laying around and the electrical box is not secure."

St. Andrews is in supervisor John McKay's district. He said it's more than just the pool.

"Well, the menace is as it overgrows, you get rats, snakes and things like that are naturally drawn to this because you're near a marsh," McKay said. "So the menace, I guess, is the large number of rats and snakes that come out of the marsh and start living next to people's houses. That's the menace. "

People who live here do their best to take care of the course. One of them is Bob Bliss.

"All of the homeowners are trying to chip in to maintain the golf course and not let it revert to woods," Bliss said. "The problem we're having is on some of the holes where nobody lives, it's growing wild."

They are also trying to find investors to save the property, but no deals have been struck yet.

Having this property declared a menace to public safety and health is going to be a matter of time. It's a long, slow, painful process for both elected officials and the people who live in St. Andrews.

McKay expressed his frustration.

"We have to go through the proceeding that we have today," McKay said. "And then if the development company or other property owners does not do anything, well then our option then is to take them to court. And then it's up to a judge to say, yes, this is a public menace to public health."

St. Andrews homeowners say that day can't come quickly enough.

If the property is declared a menace, the county can pay to clean it up, and bill the property owner for the cost of that work.

Monday public hearing was postponed for one month, because an announcement advertising the hearing was not run in the local newspaper. The hearing has been rescheduled for 9:30 in the morning on September 19th in the Board of Supervisors' meeting room.

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