It is time to fix the problem of neglected and crumpling buildings throughout Vicksburg

Published 9:42 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

Before the votes were cast in the Vicksburg municipal elections in early June, The Vicksburg Post met with each of the candidates running for the three positions on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

During those interviews, we asked each candidate a wide-range of question. For the mayoral candidates, we focused on more general, citywide topics, while we focused on topics specific to each ward for those vying for the North Ward and South Ward aldermen positions.

One of those topics discussed with Troy Kimble and incumbent North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield was the number of abandoned homes and buildings in the North Ward, simply left behind.

And while the North Ward was the focus of our question, problems like this exist in other neighborhoods around Vicksburg.

These homes, some being left to demolition by neglect, dot the landscape of too many neighborhoods. The ward is also home to the Kuhn Hospital and the former ParkView Regional Medical Center.

While it appears progress is finally being made on Kuhn Hospital site, with the city receiving grant funds to lead to the eventual demolition of the buildings and redevelopment of the site, the ParkView facility stands tall and falling apart right before our eyes.

We learned recently the ParkView facility was up for sale for a mere $2.1 million, leaving some to wonder why anyone would pay a dollar, much less 2.1 million of them, for a facility that does not appear to have any value other than target practice for a wrecking ball.

The facility — much like Kuhn — has become a drag on the area it once served well.

Broken windows, overgrown bushes and trees and weathered façade have led those who live in the area to wish and pray for it to be gone.

Its owners are hopeful a buyer can be found to let them off the hook for what they have let fall apart and are responsible for.

Still, it is hard to imagine anyone would have the want, or the resources, to try and renovate a facility that would take untold millions to bring up to current day code.

ParkView is another reminder that we cannot afford to let buildings of size fall to neglect. Not only do we lose the history they hold, but also allow them to demoralize and devalue the neighborhoods in which they occupy.

It is our hope the city will take quick inventory of those homes and buildings left to fall apart and develop a plan for their repair or their replacement.