MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (June 5, 2014) — Jacqueline Lewis is calling herself a ‘Blight Buster.’ The homeowner is determined to fix up her neighborhood, which is crumbling around her.
Lewis said her plan is to get the community around her to start to clean up with the hope that the city will help her out.
More than half of the houses on on 3000 block of Sixth Street in Muskegon Heights are condemned, abandoned years ago.
Most are left open for anyone, even kids, to enter.
“Neighborhood is just descending down,” said Lewis. “A hot mess.”
Then one day, she couldn’t watch anymore.
Lewis looked over at the house next to here own. “Garbage, carpeting, bottles, stumps, trees, windows broken. There is a tree growing out of the roof over there. I am tired of looking at that tree!”
Her plan is to throw a block party. The idea is to give people a reason to come together. “Anybody is welcome to come and join and participate in this event,” she said.
The event will be held at noon at her home on 3033 Sixth Street. Lewis said there will be a cook-out, entertainment for the kids, and once the people are there, an effort will be made to clean up the trash in the lawns of the property.
“It’s an everlasting dump,” she said. “We want to bring back and beautify all of this. This is no way for us to live, and we are not going to live like this. We are going to fight blight.”
Lewis hopes this will get the attention of city leaders, the people she believs can make a real change.
“I want this all torn down,” she said. “We can grow gardens. We can do something nice and big with the vacant area.”
The neighborhood’s deterioration has come at a cost to those who remain. Lewis said when she had her home appraised a couple years ago it was valued at $80,000. She said a recent appraisal put the home at $15,000.