Waveland on the brink of eliminating blighted property

Waveland on the brink of eliminating blighted property

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Twelve years after Katrina, the City of Waveland is still dealing with blighted property left behind.

It's an issue that officials and residents in the city have been fighting to end.

"In order to have beautification projects in the city, you can't have a bunch of trashy properties around. We just push from day to day."

Siebenkittel has been working around the clock to get the properties cleared, The dry erase board in his office - which is filled with addresses of lots that need to be taken care of - is about to be wiped cleaned.

"We started off with 300 or more files, now we have about 85 percent done, and that's cleared," said Siebenkittel.

But of all of the blighted property slated for removal, Siebenkittel says the old Dave's Frontier feed store on Hwy 90 is the biggest one. Between uncut grass, broken windows, caved in roof, and the vagrants who use the building as shelter, the city and local business owners say enough is enough.

"It just is an eyesore," said Scott Blackwell, who owns a t-shirt shop right across the street from the abandoned building.

Blackwell believes the property is damaging the city's reputation.

"We have to show around here that businesses are thriving, and also that Waveland is moving forward and not stagnated," said Blackwell.

Moving forward is exactly what City Hall has planned for the property.

"We're going to have to [demolish] it, which is going to be on our next Board of Alderman meeting, for us to do that," said Waveland Mayor Mike Smith.

Smith wants Waveland to be more attractive to potential developers. Getting rid of a few blemishes is a step in the right direction.

"These blighted properties make the whole area look bad. If we can get these blighted properties taken care of, even if it's a few at a time quicker than we were before, I think we'll see re-development quicker than we have in the past," said Smith.

The city plans to have all of the buildings on the list cleared out by the middle of October.