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Warner Robins leader wants community help in north side 'blight' clean-up

Councilman Derek Mack says concerned citizens should report blight to code enforcement and council. You can also get connected to the Blight Task Force.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Community members and city leaders say as Warner Robins grows, the north side of town has not grown with it. One local official wants to change that. 

Councilman Derek Mack took to Facebook this week to share that the city sees lots of complaints about the condition of the north side of Warner Robins.

Around the community, people have used words like blighted and neglected to describe that area of town.

Phyllis Martin has lived in her home off of Ignico Drive for 71 years. She says she lives in one of the oldest homes in the area. 

In her yard, you'll find decorative flags, lots of flowers and bird homes. It is a family tradition, and she likes to keep her yard festive. 

"It's a lot of work but I enjoy it," Martin said. 

Martin says her neighborhood used to be one of the city's nicest. 

"As the older people passed on, the children got them and then they started renting them out, and that's when they started renting them out. That's when it started going downhill," she said. 

Now, if you drive down the street from her home, you'll find blighted buildings and unkempt yards. 

"People just don't take pride," Martin said. 

Martin says she calls code enforcement often, and they are typically helpful.

"Neighbors around here, we report," she said. 

Councilman Mack takes these reports personally. 

"I grew up in this area. I grew up right across the street here as a young kid, so I take pride in the community," Mack said. 

He wants more people to be demanding customers. 

Monday he posted a video to Facebook showing a neighborhood in the north side that was covered in miscellaneous car parts, random cars and other dumped items. 

In his post, he asked more people to take action, since that will help better the conditions on the north side. 

"How can you expect for any type of entrepreneurship to invest in this area if you don't sweep around your own front door when we have so much illegal dumping, trash, uncut right of ways," Mack said on Wednesday. 

He encourages more people to make formal reports by contacting code enforcement with concerns and getting the police involved when necessary. 

He says if that option hasn't or doesn't work for you, he says people should contact code enforcement and police with concerns.

He says if that option hasn't worked in the past or doesn't work in the future, he recommends you come out to a city council meeting. They are typically every first and third Monday, but official dates are posted on the website here. 

"Express your concerns to the Mayor's office and to the elected officials — that's what we're here for," Mack said. "You trusted us with your vote to handle things as such." 

Mack says that not reporting a problem makes you part of the problem.  He says they need more people to file official reports. He says the data will help them clean up and bring growth.

Mack says to keep the area thriving, they need something to keep the Giants Food store running. He says he thinks revitalizing the soccer field on Tabor Road would help benefit to the area. 

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick sent us this statement: 

"Redevelopment of our downtown district remains a priority in my administration. All efforts are geared toward uplifting the historic areas and heart of our city,"

You can also be on the lookout for more information on the city's new blight task force. 

The city will appoint members to represent each city post to spearhead the committee, but community members can attend meetings once they start. 

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