Citizens express concerns

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 16, 2006

Christmas on the River. River City Rumble. Quaint little shops and small town kindness. Those are the tings the city of Demopolis is known for.

However, its residents are beginning to get fed up with the dilapidated, abandoned buildings that are starting to take over the city.

That is why the Citizen’s Task Force was formed.

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Since last year, this group of concerned citizens has been searching the city in order to create a list of rundown building and their owners.

But it seems to the group that their work has been in vain, because concerns are not being addressed.

“We don’t want to take anymore action, or continue to meet because we need someone to look at the properties we’ve already listed,” Task Force chairman Claude Neilson said. “We are waiting on certain actions from the city before we meet again.”

“The concept of the Task Force is commendable and we took the responsibility to survey the city and identify the owners,” member Drew Johnson said. ” We’ve done our part, but if you can not continue to make owners do what they should legally, then I don’t see why we should meet anymore.”

The group would simply like to see some sort of report of what kind of actions have been taken on the properties, Johnson said, telling them whether they are works in progress, have been taken care of, or are next on the list.

“We are still waiting on an update from the stuff from last year,” he added.

According to councilman Melvin Yelverton, the city is not the reason for the lack of information.

“We’ve sent the information through the proper channels,” he said, “but we don’t get feedback either.”

Not wanting the Force to stop their work in the city, the council sympathized with its members’ frustrations.

Councilman Barry Collins suggested keeping a spreadsheet of the properties and the actions taken on them because “it’s not right that their work is unattended to.”

Although mayor Cecil P. Williamson was not present, councilman Thomas Moore, who led the meeting, said he promises to get back to the group as soon as possible.

John Clyde Riggs of the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission, or ATRC, also updated the council on the one bid for the French Creek project.

“Bids opened Thursday and the one we received was greatly higher than cost estimates,” Riggs said. “We are not ready to make a recommendation to the council at this time because we are still in the process of negotiating. We will make a recommendation one way or another come your next meeting.”

The council will meet again on Thursday, July 6, at 5:15 p.m.