Council expected to ask Army Nat'l Guard for help in house demolition

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Nov. 6, 2001
The number of abandoned houses in her neighborhood make retiree Rena Delk apprehensive. An abandoned, burned-out house on the city's demolition list lies practically in her back yard.
Leland Hughes, who lives next door to Delk, said there are three vacant houses near his home. He said he called the police a few months ago when he saw two people going into one of them.
He said drugs have become a problem in the neighborhood where he has lived for 72 years.
Meridian councilmen are expected to take a step today toward allowing the Mississippi Army National Guard at no cost to taxpayers to demolish 25 houses on the demolition list, including the burned-out house on 12th Avenue near Delk's and Hughes' homes.
Don Farrar, Meridian's community development director, said the council must agree not to hold the 150th Combat Engineer Battalion responsible for any damage done during demolition. The council is expected to approve this agreement today.
Next, Farrar said, he and his staff will submit an official request for the work to the Army National Guard. He said he doesn't know when the work would begin.
Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Thomas began working with Maj. Jerry Bratu on the agreement a couple of months ago. Bratu is the battalion executive officer for the 150th Combat Engineer Battalion.
Farrar said the Guard's demolishing the houses could save the city $20,000-$25,000.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at
Houses at the following addresses could be demolished by the Mississippi Army National Guard's 150th Combat Engineer Battalion:
1501 12th Ave.
1604 12th Ave.
1408 11th Ave.
400 46th Ave.
3200 11th St.
2526 Fourth Ave.
405 40th Ave.
409 40th Ave.
1409 Fifth St.
1609 32nd Ave.
824 48th Ave.
3331 Davis St.
2812 Ninth St.
1208 18th St.
1711 22nd St.
1905 23rd St.
2223 20th Ave.
3810 South St.
211 46th Ave.
214 46th Ave.
1324 31st Ave.
2323 41st Ave.
4717 25th St.
4801 25th St.
3613 Davis St.