WAVELAND, Miss. (WLOX) - Waveland city leaders are fed up with blight.
They said this year, they’re cracking down to make Waveland a more attractive place for all.
Waveland is known as the Hospitality City, but take a drive down Highway 90, and you’ll see a few sights that offer less than a warm welcome.
The old Motel Travel Express Inn is just one of several properties that have seen better days. Alderman Jeremy Burke said the dilapidated and abandoned buildings that line the highway can’t be ignored any longer.
“We need to dress up the Highway 90 corridor because it is the welcoming mat, not just to Waveland, but the whole Mississippi Gulf Coast," he said.
Burke said the city will be more aggressive this year in going after owners to get them to clean up their properties. A notice was posted at the former motel property just this week, letting the owners know they’re scheduled to appear at a public hearing in February.
It’s one of the last steps before the city steps in and takes action.
“If we have to go and address the blight, Waveland does the work and then we go and add it on to their tax assessment at the end of the year, and then we get our money back, but that’s the worst possible outcome. We want to just notify people that there’s a problem, and we’re hoping that they’ll address it," Burke said.
Burke said the city must also do a better job of enforcing sign ordinances.
“We don’t want a city right of way just to be cluttered with illegally-placed signs. We want nice, professional-looking signs in front of businesses, and we’ll do our part to keep everything else in order," he said.
He’s concerned blighted properties could hinder future commercial development.
“I’m worried this is where the development is going to stop because nobody’s going to want to build and invest right next to an eyesore of something that they have no control over," Burke said.
The fight against blight is an ongoing battle, but one Burke said the city isn’t afraid to tackle.
“This didn’t happen overnight, and this isn’t going to be an overnight fix, but Waveland is fully aware, and we are going to address this," he said.
Those with concerns about blighted or abandoned properties in their neighborhoods are encouraged to contact the Waveland Building Department.