County to raze dozens of abandoned structures

COAHOMA COUNTY — With grant support from the Walton Family Foundation, the Delta Bridge Project (DBP) in Coahoma County will fund the demolition of abandoned homes and buildings. Clean-up is expected to begin in the spring of 2012.

Working with local leaders, the staff of Southern Bancorp Capital Partners (SBCP) has identified 40 dilapidated structures in Clarksdale and 20 in the towns of Coahoma and Jonestown for demolition. The ultimate goal of the project is the beautification of the main thoroughfares and creation of opportunities for future development.

This community clean-up program was successful in launching a comprehensive revitalization effort when implemented by SBCP staff in Phillips County, Ark., five years ago. More importantly, Coahoma County residents voiced their interest in launching the clean-up effort during strategic planning meetings over the past few months.

“Throughout our one-year strategic planning process, each goal team representing the DBP of Coahoma County has expressed the need for a city and county-wide clean-up initiative,” said Lois Erwin, senior community development officer for SBCP. “With this $150,000 grant, the demolition of unsightly structures will be realized in Coahoma, Clarksdale and Jonestown, and this is just the beginning.”

As the coordinator for this project, the Coahoma County government expects to work with local municipalities, community-based organizations, and individual property owners to incentivize removal of neglected properties.

Erwin added, “We look forward to working with the city and county municipalities to accomplish this goal.”

The Delta Bridge Project is a community- led effort that unifies citizens to spur development in the Delta region. It has helped leverage over $86 million for projects in the Mississippi Delta.

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