JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -You work your whole life to realize the American dream of home ownership only to see the houses around you become eyesores.
That’s what’s happening to some folks on Lurline Drive in south Jackson and say they’ve been asking for help for years now, but the problem persists.
Residents reached out to 3 On Your Side to help them Take Back Their Street.
“I hate for my friends to come over and look over, man who lives there.”
That’s the unpleasant reality for 71-year-old James LaBranche these days. He now owns the home he so proudly moved into more than 30 years ago. He and his wife raised a family on Lurline Drive and moving has never been an option -- until now.
“I had big snakes to come from over there and come in my yard and I mean it’s an eyesore," said James LaBranche. "Nobody wants to live like this and my property value has probably gone down tremendously.”
When LaBranche walks out his front door, he sees next door and across the street -- the same thing -- neglected and abandoned property.
This kind of overgrowth doesn’t happen overnight. This property has been neglected for years. You can’t even see the front of the house and just across the street, the same thing goes for another property.
Weeds all over the place.
Truly an eyesore.
“I have called downtown with community improvement, I’ve called the mayor’s office. I’ve talked to Charles Evers on his show and only thing he said was go to the city council meetings,” LaBranche said. "But anyway, what is their response when you call community improvement? It’s some kind of list that they’ve got. A long list. Aw, this list has got to be back when Harvey Johnson was in office. So, it’s been in this condition that long? Right, right.”
“I called myself, complaining about this very yard over here," said Brenda Nichols. "I was informed they come out and they cut once a year; that they would come and look again and I never saw a soul and still that’s been months ago.”
Nichols said her concern is for her grandchildren and other kids in the neighborhood. Nuisance property like this attracting all kinds of unhealthy elements.
“It makes me feel like the City of Jackson doesn’t care. I’m under the assumption that they’re responsible for this yard,” said Nichols.
Mildred Holmes has lived on Lurline Drive almost as long as James LaBranche. She is just as frustrated.
“When we call the city to try to get them to come out and check it, to find out who the houses belongs to, we get no response," said Holmes. "We get no response, no kind, nothing.”
Hinds County tax rolls show 5072 Lurline Drive has been sold for failure to pay taxes. Larry Shaw is listed as the last owner.
Angela Fairley is the last owner listed for 5073 Lurline Drive, but it too has now been sold for failure to pay taxes.
“It’s shocking to me. I worked everyday and this is just ridiculous! Something’s gotta be done about it,” said LaBranche. “Somebody can do something about it!”
“They used to come out and cut it at first, but all of the sudden they stopped,” added Nichols.
"Clean the city up! Clean it up!” said Holmes.
“I wanna stay here, but if I have to move, I’ll move,” said LaBranche.
3 On Your Side reached out to the City of Jackson for answers.
The Community Improvement division is no longer connected with the Jackson Police Department and it is now part of the the Planning and Development Department. Dr. Mukesh Kumar is director.
In an email response, Dr. Kumar stated:
“5072 Lurline Drive was boarded up last year. As it has been over a year since the last case, we will start another case on the property. It has to go through the current process of inspection, administrative hearing, administrative adjudication, council action, followed by compliance to the city council action.”
“5073 Lurline Drive: Contract work to cut grass was completed in March of this year. This case will go back to the process of council action for a new contract for grass and weed clearing.”
Because of our investigation, Dr. Kumar notes his inspectors spotted another property that needs attention: 5042 Lurline Drive.
“We have initiated a case on this property for overgrown grass and weed," said Dr. Kumar.