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Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 9, 2011

It’s a shame to drive out and see the Vicksburg houses added to the list for demolition last week by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen — 500 Sycamore St. and 1518 Sky Farm Ave.

Some years ago, with the pride of homeownership, people acquired that land, perhaps at great personal cost and effort, then built the homes and probably grew vegetables and flowers in their yards.

Now the homes are derelict, windows and doors missing, walls ready to fall down on their own if the city doesn’t get the job done first.

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What happened?

What would those who worked and took pride in those homes say to those who have let the properties become so run down that the only recourse is to demolish them?

Twenty-five properties were allowed to devolve into “sub-standard” buildings and were demolished in 2010. Sixty-two more await the wrecking ball this year.

One of them is a three-story antebellum-looking home on East Avenue, but many on the list are small, even shotgun-style homes.

In most cases, the neighborhoods around the homes also have degenerated, but they, too, once were nice.

All of the homes once were the result of somebody’s grand dreams and hopes, pride and self-reliance.

Mother Theresa said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies,” and the Gospels record Jesus praising the stewards who could be trusted with a little — then entrusting them with more.

Seems like the pride and faithfulness of those who built those homes has been replaced with indifference and disrespect. “Somebody else will take care of me,” or “somebody else can clean up the mess.”

Drive past those homes and think about the people who built them, and then think about the people who’ve let them fall apart.

Shame on them.