On the front page of the September 12th edition of the Donalsonville News were twelve photographs of blighted properties in our community. The photos, under the heading of Fix or Remove It, depicted just a few of the many unsightly properties in this community that need to be repaired or removed. The leaders of our city have made bold moves to clean up our community by enforcing current city codes and eliminating these eyesores. We should all applaud their efforts.
I posted photos of some of the properties on the newspaper’s Facebook page, and 99.9% of the comments were 110% in favor of the city’s actions; however, the very first comment posted, and the only negative one, hit a nerve with me. That comment, posted under the Marianna property, read, “If people would mind their own business they wouldn’t have to worry about what other people’s property looks like.”
I take great pride in my community and I know that each of you do as well. It is imperative that we take an active part in eliminating the bad and accentuating the good in this lovely place we are so very fortunate to call home. After reading that comment to our Facebook post, it made me think of a statement in the Declaration of Independence. “When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” In other words, “if there’s something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.”
We have identified one something that is wrong in our community in these blighted properties. Let’s combine our efforts and our abilities, get behind our city leaders and share the responsibility of doing something about it – now!
As stated appropriately in last week’s article by Councilman Blanks, “The purpose of the city’s efforts to clean up the blighted properties is not to place a hardship on our citizens and we, the council, hope that property owners will voluntarily repair or demolish any structures that are deemed blighted or allow our fire department to burn such structures that meet the criteria for officer training. However, if the property owner does not take action to address the issue, we will.”
Where is our community pride? The blighted property eyesores dotting the lovely landscape of this community is unacceptable to me as a citizen, and from comments I have heard on the streets, it is to you as well.
This is our community; we are proud of it and each and every one of us would like to make it the very best it can be. Let’s turn our pride up a notch or two and work together to make the elimination of the city’s blighted properties a priority and a reality.
Let’s stop living with the problem and start actively doing something about it. Ride around town and make yourself a list of the blighted properties that need to be fixed and placed on the city’s take action now list. Then call in those addresses to the Donalsonville Police Department at 229-524-2175 or email them to the Donalsonville News at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you have a chance to see Mayor Joe Burke, City Manager Marty Shingler or any city councilperson, tell them thank you for their pride, their commitment and their efforts in the campaign to clean up our community. Let’s thank them face-to-face, again and again, until there is not one blighted property left standing in this community to dim our pride in it.
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