ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard says he’s tired of blighted property.
“We’re going to clean it up, just like we’re doing right here. The cost of tearing down will be passed onto the landowner. Whether they pay it or don’t pay it, every time they’re going to want to sell that property, we get our money back.”
The first of the properties on the list for St. Landry Parish was demolished Wednesday.
“This is the first one we’re doing, and we are going to make a statement with it. We want people to understand that if you don’t clean up your property, if you don’t take care of your property and your neighbors start complaining then we’re coming in.”
Bellard says property owners are entitled to due process and that can be time-consuming.
“It takes about four months to give everybody their due process; send out the certified letters and doing everything including coming to a parish council meeting. They got to show cause for why we shouldn’t do this,” he said.
This property on highway 190 East is the first blighted property to come down, after 10 to 12 years of being dealt with.
Bellard says to sell the parish, it must be cleaned up.
“Would you want to live next to something like this? Of course not. Once it’s cleaned up that property is worth some good money, once it’s cleaned up. We want people to come into our parish, but we want to give them a place to be proud of. That’s what this process is right here,” Bellard noted.
Parish Councilman Jerry Red says after he receives a complaint, he takes it to the full council.
“Once it comes to the meeting, then we bring it to a vote to take care of. It’s a lengthy process but you see the work in action (points to demolition),” Red stated.
Bellard figures the parish has about 200 blighted properties.
Plus, 1,059 adjudicated properties are owned by the parish mainly due to tax delinquencies that are for sale.