A ray of hope in Nicholson

Published 1:28 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Unlike many letters you are probably more aquainted with, this letter is to thank you for reporting the very encouraging article on the removal of hazardous properties around our county. To those who live in a more upper scale neighborhood, this article probably didn’t mean that much. To those who have a burden to see our county cleaned up and to help our children, this means a great deal.

I was raised on Lilac Drive in Greenbriar Park, Nicholson, Mississippi and I am proud of it. Not of what it is today, but what it once was. Lilac Drive is located about a block away from many of the properties scheduled for cleanup.

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I attended Nicholson Elementary, Picayune Jr High and graduated from Picayune Memorial High School in 1972. I then went on to Pearl River Jr College where I earned an Associate degree in drafting with which I earn a living to this day.

Nicholson was quite different in the 60’s and 70’s. My childhood was spent in cleared acres of beautiful broom straw fields dotted with wax myrtles and tall pine trees. There were very few mobile homes back then and not many houses either. We rode our bicycles down Lilac, Oleander, Gardenia and all the other streets late into the night. We learned to trust people and developed social skills with the interacting of all the good and honest people in our neighborhood.As teenagers we personally built at least 5 baseball / football fields, complete with pine tree goal posts, as well as many basketball courts. We didn’t ask for the “grown-ups” to help, all we needed was a rainfree day and to borrow our dad’s lawnmower. We built “clubs” on nearly every block, one was even underground. All of my buddies, as well as myself, have long moved on from Greenbriar, though I find myself there quite often. In the past 20 or so years I have seen our little Shangri-la turn into a dumping grounds for burned-out trailers and homes.The children have no ballparks, no clubhouses, no clean streets. I have counted nearly 30 homes/trailers that are burned-out in just a few block area. The children do not have room to build a single ballpark. The household trash piled in their front yards is about all the children have to play with. Drugs are already a huge part of their lives. Nearly all properties are owned by a handful of slumlords who have shown little or no concern of the filthy, hazardous conditions they are getting rich on. Why has this been allowed to go on so long?

This is where the “ray of hope” has come in. After many years of asking for help, it appears we may see some action. Thanks to District 4 Supervisor Patrick Lee, the Board of Supervisors, David Allison’s Sheriff Department and Ed Pinero, we are finally seeing positive attention. The solution was actually quite simple, but only now do we have the correct leaders to make it happen. By having the county clean up these properties and by billing the landlord for the labor on his property tax bill, we expect to see a huge turnaround in these neighborhoods. A cleaned up neighborhood will invite better residents to live here. Better residents will take pride in their neighborhood and will be instrumental in the clean up of these neighborhoods.

We must ever be mindful, whether we live in the nicer areas of the county or the less desirable areas, our county is like a living being. If parts of the body become infected, the rest of the body suffers too. If nothing is done about the infection, it will spread and eventually cause irreversible harm. I ask everyone to encourage our supervisors to continue this important action. It is time for the slumlords to find another way of making a living.

Mark Moseley

Pearl River Neighborhood Watch

Children’s Advocate