Former Tisdale Library flooded again, but that’s not the building’s only problem

Trash inside the branch shows that the facility has been used by the homeless.
Trash inside the branch shows that the facility has been used by the homeless.(WLBT)
Updated: Oct. 26, 2020 at 12:33 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - What was once one of North Jackson’s most popular libraries is falling apart and has become a haven for the homeless.

On a recent visit to the Charles Tisdale Library, the branch’s basement was flooded, a window at one of the side doors had been broken out and the inside had been trashed by vagrants.

The library has been closed since 2017 due to black mold and flooding issues. The branch building was turned back over to the city of Jackson in late summer 2019. Since then, no library has been opened to replace it.

Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote was unaware the branch had gotten so bad and blames the administration.

“For a library to sit there and be an eyesore and to deteriorate in value is malpractice,” he said.

Water has apparently flooded the branch’s basement, as evidenced by standing water along the rear walkway.

Stagnant water had reached more than halfway up the building’s basement doors and windows, but appeared to be receding during WLBT’s visit.

Foote said he took a picture of the flooding there “a couple of weeks ago," a sign the water has been in the basement for weeks.

Previously, the Jackson-Hinds Library System used pumps to remove water from the basement.

Inside, trash and other personal items littered a large open area. Several empty grocery carts were sitting at the steps behind the building, and a couple of pairs of shoes were sitting on top of Tisdale’s air conditioning unit. More trash was strewn under steps at the western side of the facility.

One man, who identified himself as Clinton Hit, said he had been sent there to clean out the facility. He and an undentified lady were carrying luggage to a truck during WLBT’s visit on Monday.

When asked if he was was sent by the city of Jackson, he said no, saying the owner had sent him. It was unclear who Hit was talking about.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said no one should have been in the building, and did not know who the man and woman were. “Clearly, they were inhabiting it without consent,” he said.

Lumumba saw WLBT’s pictures Monday afternoon before going back into the city council’s work session. He said he would send someone to clean up the facility.

Foote said he’s written numerous memos to the Lumumba administration about the library, but said nothing had been done.

“I’ve talked about it ad nauseum, and they ought to be embarrassed,” he said. “We talk and talk and talk and nobody does anything.”

Tisdale is located at 807 E. Northside Dr. The branch previously served numerous schools, including Chastain Middle School and McWillie Elementary. The location had been a popular afterschool hangout for students, who went there to do homework and to participate in other extra-curricular activities.

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