Tools for Neighbors
FOR BLIGHTED LOTS OWNED BY THE CITY
- The “Neighbors First” lot program was developed by the City of Jackson to provide neighborhood homeowners and neighborhood associations with the opportunity to acquire City surplus residential lots for minimal price.
- If lot clearing and/or demolition is needed, this can be provided free of charge by contacting us here, prior to transfer of title to new owner.
- Maintenance of the lot and payment of property taxes is required.
FOR BLIGHTED TAX-FORFEITED LOTS OWNED BY THE STATE
- A neighbor or neighborhood stakeholder interested in applying for a State lot should first contact Revitalize Mississippi (Jim Johnston / phone 601 506-9702 / email address: firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Then fill out an application online at the Secretary of State website (http://www.sos.ms.gov). [If you have trouble with the online application, contact or meet with Tyrone Hickman: 601 359-6381 / 125 S. Congress Street.] Click on Public Lands / Tax Forfeited Lands / on right side, click on “Instructions for First-Time Buyers”, print it and follow those instructions with the application. In the last box on the application, enter good reasons why you, as a neighbor or person trying to improve the neighborhood, want to buy the lot. Type in the box that you are working with Revitalize Mississippi.) For a vacant lot or a lot with a house that needs to be demolished (and will be “vacant” when you get it), enter $100 as your bid (and the final price will be $120). Mr. Hickman may later counter with a higher price, but after Revitalize Mississippi donates free cleanup (and demolition if needed), the price will be reduced to the lower figure. Same goes for a parcel with a house that can be rehabbed (place a bid of $500 , and the final price will be $520). Before finishing the application, submit payment for the $2.50 application fee. (You will not pay for the parcel until later - - after Revitalize Mississippi has finished its work.)
- Revitalize Mississippi 501c3 non-profit will provide free clean-up (and demolition, if needed), but it must be done prior to transfer of title to the new owner. As soon as you have completed the online application and paid the application fee, be sure to call Jim Johnston to let him know that you have applied, and tell him whether you just want the parcel cleaned up, or if you also want demolition done. He will check to see if you are first in line for the parcel. After the cleanup work is finished, Revitalize Mississippi will send “before” and “after” photos of the lot to Mr. Hickman to show the work that was done, and he will reduce the purchase price to reflect the donation of cleanup services and your neighborhood status. Applicant can start maintaining the property as soon as payment is made to the Secretary of State. After purchase of the property, you will receive the title (a quit claim deed) and will be responsible for maintaining the property and paying property taxes.
FOR BLIGHTED LOTS OWNED BY PRIVATE CITIZENS WITH CODE VIOLATIONS
- Effective code enforcement is required. Call 311 to report the code violation, or talk with the code officer for your neighborhood.
- Neighbors need to work closely with code officer, who should attend neighborhood meetings and give updates. Neighborhood should keep list of parcels with code violations and map.
- Ask to be notified of court dates and attend.
- For a chronic code violator, who is gaming the system, a criminal proceeding is an option (with stiff fines and possible jail time). In addition, for a dilapidated house used for drug activity or constituting public hazard or nuisance, the City can seize and demolish.
- Create neighborhood support for a homeowner who is elderly, disabled or ill, if she or he needs help keeping up the yard.
- New owners have 60 days to clean up blighted property.
- Use “TIP 411” (anonymous phone or text to report suspicious or criminal activity to the police department)
- Neighborhood Watch program
Adopt a lot
The Adopt-a-lot program is for neighbors to maintain (but not own) City or State-owned lots. Only maintenance is currently allowed (but not creation of garden, playground, park, etc.). But no property taxes to pay.
Active, organized neighborhood
- Strong neighborhood association, that joins with other neighborhoods to have a strong unified voice that will be heard.
- Beautification measures, and address littering.
- Engage with local schools to demand the best for your kids.
- Develop strong plans and get sponsors for your neighborhood activities.
- Apply for grants.
- Go online and try “crowd sourcing."