Columbus blight program: Plan to clean up abandoned properties

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – There are several unused houses in Columbus and city leaders want to turn them into something better for the community.

“Our blight program is a program to remove unsightly properties, and it goes further than that. Once we remove the blight, we will have vacant lots. We will be acquiring some of the lots also. The purpose of that is now we have added another piece to it. We are going to remove the blight, and replace them with affordable housing,” said George Irby, Columbus Interim Planner.

Irby said that doing this could lead to less crime, and people feeling safer about their surroundings.

“To make it more pleasing to the eye. This is also to help behavior if you live in decent sanitary conditions. There are a multitude of things that removing blight will do to help improve the city,” said Irby.

He said the hope is to beautify the Friendly City.

If people have to live around a bunch of abandoned houses, to me that does something for their psychic. We have all this saying called livable communities, so this makes the community much more livable,” said Irby.

Over 200 blighted properties have been recognized around Columbus. While the current money will not cover all of them, the city of Columbus is using federal grant money for the program.

“We have gotten two $3 million projects, and one was for 2023, and the other one was this year in 2024 which is a total of six million dollars,” said Irby.

Irby said the blight program will take six years to be completed.

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