MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - A school that was closed down 30 years still sits on an overgrown lot in Jackson County, an eyesore to the neighbors who live by the condemned property.
Decades ago, it was Live Oak Academy, a private school that was open from 1965 to 1989. The old building that once housed the school hasn’t been used in 30 years and people who live in the area say they want the rundown structure demolished.
Dorothy Douglas’ property backs up to the abandoned school, which sits on Allemand Street in the Kreole community of Moss Point. In addition to the countless rats and snakes on the property, Dorothy said vandals are also taking over.
“I’ve been bitten by a snake," she said. “It stinks through here. It’s dangerous through here. Sixty percent of our population are seniors. They’re home ridden, easily robbed.”
Crime is a big concern for Larry Benjamin, too. He lives across the street from the dilapidated property and was attacked back in June.
“I had the guy come from this property across onto my yard, and he come up behind me and threw me on the ground," he said. Larry suffered scaring and nerve damage from the attack. A police report was filed but no arrests were made.
Residents say crime has gotten so bad, they’re afraid to walk outside alone. They’re petitioning the city to do something about it.
Dorothy addressed the issue in front of Mayor Mario King and other city leaders at Tuesday night’s board of alderman meeting, begging them to do something about the old Live Oak Academy. The old school is in Alderman Sherwood Bradford’s ward. He agreed it’s a health and safety issue.
“It has become so bad,” Bradford said during the meeting. “It’s a dump site. There’s crime.”
Building Inspector Andrew Beamon said the city sent a letter last week to the owners giving them 30 days to clean it up. This is the second time a letter has gone out.
Mayor King is taking it further and cited Mississippi code 21.19.11 Tuesday night. It’s used to determine the health, safety and welfare of a property or parcel of land. The mayor said he’ll get with the inspector to put this process in motion.