Media contact: Josh Troy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PUBLIC HEARING ABOUT BLIGHT ON COMMERCIAL, RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES SET FOR 5:30 P.M. TUESDAY IN CLARKSDALE CIVIC AUDITORIUM
Clarksdale residents will have an opportunity to provide their input on how they feel the city should handle blight on commercial and residential properties during a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the city’s Civic Auditorium.
Discussion about blight on properties has been discussed throughout the community the past few weeks leading up to the public hearing.
“What do you think about blight in Clarksdale?” said Grant Writer Millicent Dixon. “Is this a problem that needs to be remedied? If so, how should we go about doing it? Or do you think this is something we don’t need to worry about? Whichever side of the line you fall on, please come out and join in this discussion with us.
“As we look at these concerns, we really want to know what you, the citizens of Clarksdale have to say about it.”
Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner came up with the idea of including Mike Slaughter, owner of Slaughter & Associates out of Oxford, into the discussion at the public hearing on Tuesday.
Slaughter & Associates is already putting together Clarksdale’s comprehensive strategic plan and redistricting map.
Mayor Chuck Espy commended Turner for suggesting Slaughter attend the hearing and be part of the discussion.
“I’m very appreciative because bringing Slaughter & Associates back into play will help give a scope of what is happening all across the state,” Espy said.
Turner said, with the work Slaughter & Associates is doing for the City of Clarksdale, Slaughter will be able to inform the citizens what is working and what needs to happen to move the community forward.
“We already have Slaughter doing work for us and they’re doing their study,” Turner said. “Policies and codes fall under the description, so we’ll be getting the most for bargain for our buck, I think, with letting them weigh in on the conversation where they can see on the outside.”
Espy said the public hearing should help citizens of Clarksdale be on the same page.
“The exercise is to make sure that we are one Clarksdale, no matter if we are rich, poor or how big your home is, how small your home is, how many cars you have,” he said. “This is designed to bring us all on the same page. And Slaughter & Associates will help through the framework to make sure that we’re not missing.”
Espy said Slaughter will be able to give a broader perspective on methods being used to clean up blight on local, state and national levels.
“They can give us the quick framework so we can not pilot, but actually use a template that may have been done before,” Espy said. “We’re hoping that this is the highest turnout ever for a public hearing. We need the public to attend. We need every single citizen because this issue has been around for too long. And we want as much as possible to be said at this meeting, so, as we move forward, we’re not leaving one person behind in the thought process on what needs to happen.
“Whatever comes out of that, that’s how we’re going to move forward.”