Livingston’s Mayor said an ordinance passed last year to clean up properties around town is working.
Curtis Hayes says adding stiffer penalties have helped benefit all residents.
“I think it’s been a home run for Livingston to start cleaning up some of these neighborhoods with dilapidated properties,” Hayes said.
Hayes said despite early opposition, many residents have embraced the cleanup efforts. He said most of the complaints made so far have been corrected.
“There was some opposition early when we passed the ordinance for property maintenance,” Hayes said. “But I can tell you, almost a year into it, it has become a very good tool to help neighborhoods clean up properties. So far, we’ve had about 44 complaints on properties. Over 30 of them are up to codes now. As for abandoned, wrecked, or dismantled vehicles, we’ve had reports of 24. Twenty of them are in compliance as of right now. As far as slum clearance, we’ve had 8 structures that have been declared slums, and two structures are set on the agenda. One’s been restored, one’s been torn down, and three have had hearings.”
University Street, Hayes said, has been one area of ongoing concern. He said that area has improved immensely.
“I think six months ago to a year you would have seen a building that was in severe need of repair,” Hayes said. “You had kudzu growing on the sides of them. Now, it is a home and apartments that I wouldn’t care a bit for my mother or kids to live in. I’m very proud of the entrepreneurs we have that has invested in the community.”
Although Livingston had ordinances to address property issues before, Hayes said they were not strong enough. He said he believes strengthening the penalties has helped spur people into action.
“Like most cities, we had some ordinances on the books,” Hayes said. “They were just weak. They didn’t have enough teeth on them. There was a committee formed, and they’ve come up, along with the Board of Aldermen, that some guidelines and regulations that the community needed to go by. It’s been a major shot in the arm for Livingston.”
The City of Livingston passed the updated ordinances in April 2019.