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|Vidalia initiates effort to clean up properties|
Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland announced Tuesday night that the city will begin "a concentrated effort" to force the owners of 25 abandoned and blighted lots to initiate clean up efforts.
He told the Vidalia Town Council Tuesday night that the process of contacting the property owners would begin immediately.
Alderman Vernon Stevens also presented a petition with the signatures of 56 residents claiming that the former radio station building and tower on Alabama Street be removed, stating the property is an eyesore as well as a safety hazard.
City attorney Jack McLemore advised that the tower is expected to be removed as soon as weather permits. He said that the radio station building itself could be added to the blighted property list.
The cleanup effort will be extended to unkempt lawns.
"We are asking every owner of a house or commercial property to keep their grass mowed," said Copeland.
The city's ordinance requires that grass be kept under a certain height.
"We will be looking at this immediately," he said. "If it is beyond the limit of growth we will enforce the statute."
"We won the cleanest contest several times and now we are going back to where we were," said Copeland.
The Council also took the first step Tuesday night to make sure the Vidalia riverfront walkway is for humans only.
Police Chief Tapper Hendricks requested that the council consider a measure banning pets from the walkway.
'The volume of complaints and calls we are receiving is becoming a nuisance," said Hendricks. "We've just encountered some problems and the ban would just be for the concrete part only. There are plenty of grassy areas for pets."
Mayor Hyram Copeland agreed that it could cause a "serious situation."
"It's not that we are against pets," said Copeland. "This could be a safety issue."
Hendricks also said that his department would begin enforcing pet vaccinations according to state law. If an animal is picked up and sheltered, owners will be required to show proof of vaccination before they are returned, he said.
The board agreed to prefile an ordinance and a public meeting will be held on the matter.
In other business, the board and the Vidalia Riverfront Authority authorized a lease change for property belonging to Concordia Bank & Trust, formerly Lorraine's, to Jackson Enterprises.
Also, the long standing issue of drainage and the slough may be resolved in the near future. Copeland advised that the town was in discussions with the Corps of Engineers about a resolution.
Hendricks also made an announcement that the Vidalia Police Department will implement a missing child program.
"The program is grant funded and will be at no cost to the Vidalia Police Department or the city," said Hendricks.
The program will allow an officer to initially call an 800 number and enter a description which will then be distributed through a call network to local residents. Hendricks said the program can generate 1,000 calls per minute alerting citizens.
"I hope we never have to use it," he said. "But I think it could come in handy if we ever needed it."
He added that every 40 seconds a child goes missing.
The following occupational licenses were issued:
-Promise Hospital of Miss-Lou, 209 Front St.
-The Groovy Mans Mobile Oil Change, 1618 Azalea St.
-River City Entertainment, 607 Clinton St.
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