With the people gone, the site has deteriorated. Broken glass and trash are everywhere. So are rusty nails, exposed electrical wires and splintered planks. A sour stench fills the air.
Zorater Miles and her neighbors say they’ve had enough. Their houses flank the property and they maintain it’s a catastrophe in the making — a deathtrap, even. “It could go up in flames in an instant,” Miles says.
No warning signs are posted and the site is not secured or fenced in any way.
“I’m the one that’s been giving everybody downtown a hard time,” Miles says of the calls she’s made to various city offices to complain and prompt action.
But her concerns and requests to remove the trailers have gone ignored, she says.
Miles says the city’s Community Assisted Public Safety program is handling the case with the landowner, Allen Miller. Miller did not return Style’s calls for comment. Neither did Nelson Yepps, the area’s CAPS representative, nor did a spokesman with the city’s Department of Public Health.
Neighbors say they’ve been told the site will be developed as “affordable” housing in the future. They say they shouldn’t have to live with obvious risks.
On a recent afternoon Reva Trammell, a former councilwoman, and Fattah Muhammad, a civic activist, walk in and around the trailer park, joined by more than a dozen adults and children who live nearby.
“You can spend thousands of dollars to clean up Jefferson Davis and put up little flags, but you can’t spend money to clean this up?” Muhammad says. “This is what breeds crime.”
Trammell agrees. “What the city needs to do is immediately get these trailers out of here,” she says.
Miles and Munford say a group of angry neighbors will attend the South Side CAPS meeting May 12 to demand action. Miles says they’ll petition City Council, too. “Everybody’s upset over this,” she says. “It’s absolutely unsafe.” — Brandon Walters
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