City officials in Columbus are looking for ways to improve city housing

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Blighted housing is a worsening problem in Columbus, and city leaders are taking notice.

But solutions cost money, and that can be a problem with a tight city budget.

Columbus has many attractive homes and properties but you don’t have to drive far to see a different landscape.

Rundown and unlivable houses are scattered around neighborhoods throughout the city. And no area is immune to the blight.

City leaders are working on plans to improve that, and they’re looking for help.

“I would like to see that everybody has a sense of place. This is my home and I want to see it clean,” said Irby.

George Irby said he grew up in Columbus and is proud to call it his home, but he is not always proud of the way his hometown looks.

Irby said that when he drives around town, he sees his neighbors, but he also sees too many old, run-down houses.

He and other city leaders would like to do something about that. His role as Director of Community Development gives him a platform to work from.

“I went before the board of supervisors and I asked them for 500,000 -1 million dollars to help the city remove blighted properties. I want to clean up these vacant lots and dilapidated houses put new houses on them that are affordable,” said Irby.

Irby said that he is working with the city to use ARPA money to help clean up the City and make it a more beautiful place.

Mayor Keith Gaskin said that blighted houses are not a new problem and fixing them could eliminate bigger problems in the city.

“Areas like that attract crime and we’ve known that, and we just need to do as much as we can to help clean this city up,” said Gaskin.

Gaskin said that when the city invests in its neighborhoods, it has a positive impact on the city, its businesses, and its people.

“When you come through a city and see blighted properties or properties that aren’t being taken care of that’s not only a black eye on the city or looks like we’re not doing a good job of taking care of our properties but it also has an effect on folks that live in those neighborhoods it takes an effect on people’s personalities and their attitudes about the neighborhood,” said Gaskin.

Officials looking through the city have counted over 240 run-down homes in the area.

Categories: Local Sports