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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2007
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EDITORIAL

City could do more to clean out blight

What's happening in an area of Decatur bounded by Somerville Road and Sixteenth Street Southeast isn't fair to anyone, most of all the residents of the working class community who don't want it to decay further.

The picture on the front page of Sunday's Daily may have been of the centerpiece for the blight in the area, but there is plenty more.

The city had the residents of the Sherman Street address clean the mess from their front porch last week after getting a couple of recent complaints. Still, with vehicles sitting at the side of the house, the place is an eyesore.

The city now has six code-enforcement officers to protect other residents from that sort of clutter. And City Hall says it repeatedly hands out warnings. David Lee, one of the enforcement officers, said his department issued 3,776 weed, junk and litter notices last year.

But is the city really serious about cleaning up blight?

Mayor Don Kyle said the city issues notices "again and again and again" and that some violators "are slow learners."

But if the city can't enforce its ordinance against blight, perhaps it needs a stronger one. If the present one is sufficient, then City Hall should have the backbone to clean up the mess.

Let us hope that any families looking at Decatur as part of the military's Base Re-alignment and Closure program avoid the area.

And that's not because low-income families live there but because too many of the residents lack community pride and the city doesn't enforce the ordinance.

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