Committee’s goal is to ‘clean up’ Demopolis

Published 12:06 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

With the issue of dilapidated properties being at the forefront of recent council meetings, the city of Demopolis has assembled a group of residents to identify those out of compliance with existing city ordinances.

The group, identified as the Neighborhood Improvement Opportunity Committee, was designed to help the residents of each council district get their property to code before a violation warranted further action.

“This isn’t the ‘yard Gestapo’,” Mayor Mike Grayson said of the groups approach to making physical improvements to private property. “They’re goal is to identify those who are out of compliance with city ordinances and help them get in compliance.”

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Grayson said many of those who fall outside compliance with many ordinances do so out of unfamiliarity with the rules.

“Most people may not know that we have an ordinance regarding how high your grass can be before it has to be cut, and if they do know they probably don’t know what the inch tolerance is,” he said. “The committee’s mission is to find those who probably have no idea that they’ve done anything wrong, explain to them where they went wrong and help them find a way to correct it.”

Grayson said the group is part of a “neighbors helping neighbors” effort that he hopes will resonate throughout the community.

“We will be a lot more successful in luring business prospects here if we make a good first impression, visually,” he said. “The cleanliness of your town says a lot about how much pride you have in your town and we want property owners to develop and instill some community pride.”

Offenders who were unresponsive to encouragement of the committee could face official action from the city per the violation of city ordinances.

“We’re not trying to get anyone in trouble,” Grayson added. “We want to help them before it ever gets that far.”