RUSTON, La. (KTVE) – In September, the City of Ruston sent out letters to 35 property owners whose homes or buildings were hit by the storm. City leaders want to know if owners plan to repair the structures or knock them down.
“This has not been a fun process for me or the city, but we have tried to move on and we have tried to give people as much time as possible and we will continue to do that,” Mayor Ronny Walker said.
A few homeowners didn’t respond to the original letter. They were sent a second letter in November. From there, the Board of Aldermen gave the city permission to begin a condemnation process.
“Which means that we will hire someone to demo the property at the owner’s expense,” Mayor Walker said.
Mayor Walker says the decision does not mean the properties will be demolished immediately.
“They can come to the council and ask for additional time,” Mayor Walker said. “They can say our contractor can’t start until whatever date, so we work with them. From a city’s standpoint, we had to get some of these properties repaired.”
Mayor Walker says the purpose of this process is to make sure these structures don’t continue to deteriorate.
“And if a house is not occuppied, there’s no electricity on, there’s no gas, there’s a hole in the roof, then you’re just creating a haven for rodents and other things to come in there,” Mayor Walker said. “We’re just looking out for what’s best for the entire and all of our citizens.”
Officials say the city isn’t putting pressure on anyone to act quickly, but rather let the city know their plans. In February the city will contact the next batch of owners to give them an opportunity to report a plan of action before the city takes action.
“We will work with anyone, we just need a plan of action on what they are planning on doing,” Mayor Walker said.