Several residents attended a recent meeting of the Loyall City Council where they made their concerns known about holes in the streets and abandoned homes grown up with weeds. Council members agreed something needs to be done to address these concerns.
Resident Sue Estep raised concerns in regard to the Oaks home near where she lives. She said the property is “tied up in heirs” and nothing is being done about keeping the property up.
“It’s a fire hazard, rodents are increasing and it’s probably a snake pit,” said Estep. “Back when I was on the city council, I think there was an ordinance about property that was vacated and run down.”
Mayor Clarence Longworth said there is a city ordinance on file which says the city can go in and clean the property up and then bill the landowner for the expenses incurred.
“We have discussed this, not only on this property, but on other properties in the city,” said Longworth. “I know you’ve seen in the newspaper where Harlan and Evarts have tried this. You can do one or two — it’s expensive — and tie your money up and you have no way to recover it. Years ago neighbors took care of neighbors property. I know around your area there are a lot of elderly people who can’t do this. We have others in the city just like this that we have talked about. I don’t know what the hold up is on some of this property. The banks have foreclosed and people are interested in buying these properties, but nothing is being done so that this can happen.
“There’s the Cornett house beside Jerry Gibson that is now owned by J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. Elvin has one beside his house recently created. These banks have committees who are supposed to come in and see to these properties, but they aren’t keeping them up.”
Resident and former mayor Pete Vowell said it appears no one wants to step forward and take care of these blighted properties which are becoming an eye sore for the community.
“Back when I was mayor (1993-1995) we had a nuisance ordinance that if people didn’t take care of their property — letting grass grow all the way up to the porch and all that. If they did this they were written a ticket and cited to court,” said Vowell. “There are several homes that have burned and have just been left sitting also.”
Longworth said approximately eight to 10 blighted homes in Loyall presently need addressing.
Offering his help in cleaning the city up, Loyall Church of God Pastor Billy Owens told council members he is willing to contact other churches in the community and ask their youth groups to come together with him and his church to help cut grass, pull weeds and pick up trash at these blighted properties in the city.
“As far as clean-up, I think I could get enough involvement to do some of this for the city, if permission is granted,” said Owens.
Longworth told Owens he will have to check with their attorney to see if this is allowable, but added this would be of great benefit to the city if it is allowed.
Gibson wanted to know when a hole could be fixed in front of his home on Green Street. He said he has concerns the road will “fall in.”
Mayor Clarence Longworth told Gibson the road will “probably have to be dug up” in order to fix the problem. He told Gibson the city will try to correct this problem in the near future.
In other council action:
*The Loyall Church of God asked permission to host a block party from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 25 where they will block off Courtney Street from 30 feet past the first stop sign, leaving access to the post office, to the next stop sign before Loyall City Hall. Council members approved this request. Church Youth Pastor Colby French said there will be giveaways, food, inflatables, music and games free for everyone in the community.
*Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill presented a emergency operations plan to council members. He said Harlan County Fiscal Court has approved the plan and he asked the city to sign their approval also. The issue was tabled until the mayor can view a CD of the plan.
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