9News Alert Team helps Vietnam War veteran get lot cleaned

9News Alert Team helps Vietnam War veteran get lot cleaned

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - You may remember our story involving the Vietnam War veteran who was concerned about an overgrown lot across from his house. He had been trying to get the lot cleaned for nearly three years. With a little help from the 9News Alert Team, the lot has now been cleaned.

"Anybody can hide over there, animals can be over there... to say we're in a city like Baton Rouge, we shouldn't have to go through this," said Wilbert August, the homeowner.

These were August's words about two weeks ago when we spoke with him. Today, August is singing a bit of a different tune.

RELATED VIDEO: Vietnam War veteran hoping to get dirty lot across from his home cleaned up

"I was thankful that WAFB ran the story and took an interest in it, as far as getting the property cut," he said.

However, this is just one of thousands of concerns about overgrown lots throughout the city.

"People in neighborhoods, what they really wanna' know is, is anyone paying attention to this property that's not being well maintained?" asked Rowdy Gaudet with the mayor's office.

Gaudet says many of the properties people are concerned with were adjudicated. This happens when a person stops paying taxes on the property, but that person still owns the property and is still responsible for keeping it up.

"We've gotta' number one, find that property owner, number two, give them the appropriate notice, and essentially if it's an overgrown lot, we'll tell them you  have 15 days for you to take care of this property," said Gaudet.

Gaudet says it's a long and costly process to get those lots taken care of, and the city usually gets to only about 175 a year, with hopes they will one day get reimbursed by the owner. No matter what the process is, August doesn't believe people should have to go through all of this to keep their neighborhoods clean.

"When somebody has left the property 10 to 12 years, that's abandoned property, and you know, I think the city should take responsibility for the property," said August.

Gaudet says the city is re-invigorating its redevelopment authority. One of the goals of this program will be to seek out those properties and try to get them on the market. They hope this will reduce the amount of overgrown lots throughout the city.

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