By Josh Troy
It has been nearly one month since storms caused power outages and felled large trees throughout Coahoma County, and the cleanup efforts are getting closer to completion. Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy said the goal is to have all the mess from the storm cleaned up by Aug. 2 at last week’s Board of Mayor and Commissioners vetting meeting.
The City of Clarksdale Public Works Department and Coahoma County Road Department are working together in the cleanup efforts. “Teamwork, we’ve got a lot of great team members,” Espy said.
Clarksdale Public Works Director Craig Amerson said cleanup efforts are currently taking place in the Riverton and Roundyard areas in the west end of Clarksdale. He mentioned that areas such as Martin Luther King, State Street, Grant Pl, McKinley Street, and Garfield Street still need to be cleaned up. “We’re not doing anything else in this city with public works other than cleanup right now,” Espy said. “Aug. 2, that’s when we’re back to our normal scheduled time. Then, we have a lot of catch up to do just based on what the cleanup was. We’re getting there. We’re almost there.”
Espy acknowledged the storm was several weeks ago. “The storm has lifted, and a lot of people think just because the storm was three weeks ago, they think that the cleanup has stopped,” he said. “It has not. We have massive cleanup going on in the city.”
Community advocate Milton Gardner thanked Amerson for cleaning up storm damage in the area of Travelers Hotel. “I called him, and in less than two hours, he had street sweepers over there in the parking lot across from Travelers (Hotel),” Gardner said. “A lot of glass had come into that lot from the storm, and I just want to thank Mr. Amerson for coming right on it.”
The city is still looking at different options on how to handle blight in Clarksdale that did not come from the storm. Espy said Clarksdale resident, Victor Wheatley, who spoke with the board regarding his concerns about blight, may be brought on as a consultant. The board is currently considering the following options:
A. Leave laws and standards the same regarding residential properties.
B. Allow a City-wide referendum to vote on stricter code enforcement, including against cars parked in the yard.
C. Create a new ordinance that allows a block to request stricter code enforcement by petition, including against cars parked in the yard.