By Josh Troy
Clarksdale resident Ward Magnusson would like to see different areas of the community cleaned up, and city officials are behind him. Magnusson spoke to the Board of Mayor and Commissioners at last week’s meeting and provided suggestions to make Clarksdale a better place. “This is a great little city going on here,” he said. “We’ve got this great thing going on downtown.” Magnusson said the Juke Joint Festival last week is proof of the great things going on downtown.
“I’d like to see the city grow every day, every year, and become more appealing to international travelers that will be here, to our potential investors that will come to town to see that we’re taking care of business by keeping our image up,” he said. Magnusson thanked Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner for his interest in cleaning up fallen houses. He said he would like to see business buildings appropriately maintained. He noted a couple of years ago, before the Juke Joint Festival, he put wood on a building that was broken.
Magnusson acknowledged it would be expensive to fix broken windows, but said it was worth it. “When we fix windows and we take pride in our ownership, the town will grow and flourish,” he said. Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey agreed. “Personally, I’d rather see a building standing and redone than a green space springing in with absolutely no income,” he said.
Murphey said it was important to show the City of Clarksdale is open for business. “I have talked about if you have a downtown area, it is your economic engine,” Murphey said. “It is your nucleus to work from.”“I think it all starts with creating the code,” Magnusson replied. “Then you’ve got to get a code enforcement officer, someone with a badge who can go in there and say, ‘here’s your ticket.’”
Magnusson said any property owner that receives a ticket should have 30 days to fix the problem. “I’m all in,” Murphey said. Mayor Chuck Espy said giving tickets to owners when their properties are not up to code is only the first step. “I think you’re bringing up some very valid points,” he said. However, Espy also said, the court system has to enforce the tickets the city gives and require property owners to pay the fines.
Magnusson suggested publicly showing pictures of tickets and buildings that do not comply with city codes. Espy said the city would continue to issue citations. “We’re going to use every tool in our toolbox,” he said. “We have our police department and our legal team.” Espy thanked Magnusson for speaking to the Board of Mayor and Commissioners. “I know that you’re one of the good characters of the city and I am very appreciative of what you do,” Espy said. “I’ve seen it and I know.”