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Photograph: Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor displays a photo of the Hiram Street residence which is provided with 60 additional days to make improvements. (Photograph by Bobby Ardoin)

Editor/Consulting Writer

City officials have given individuals who own or represent three Opelousas properties an additional 60 days to make improvements in order to avoid potential demolition procedures.

The decision made by the Board of Aldermen last week to provide additional renovation time followed requests from individuals who asked for more time to make renovations for abandoned structures at 709 Hiram Street, 212 East Dunbar and 706 West Bellevue.

Discussion of the properties was conducted during a public hearing, which provided individuals who attended the meeting to comment.

Eight other vacant or burned residences in other areas of Opelousas are scheduled to be demolished by the city, according to action taken by the Board.

Code Enforcement Director Margaret Doucet provided photos for each of the 11 vacant structures as the Board considered whether any of the suggested demolition procedures should proceed.

Doucet also said multiple certified letters were sent to the property owners informing them of the public hearing.

Sebie Dayon said he owns the Hiram Street house, which he admitted is in the same condition since 2012.

Dayon said it has been his intention to make improvements on the house, but told the Board that he has been delayed on efforts to initiate renovations.

Doucet said the condition of the house has been chronically problematic. Doucet pointed out that the city has also routinely attended to grass cutting on the property. There are broken windows at the house and trees abutting the roof, Doucet noted.

Dayon told the Board that in his opinion, the house remains secure.

“No one can get in. If they manage to get in, they won’t be able to get out,” said Dayon.

The Hiram Street house, said Dayon, has had no water or electricity for several years.

“I am going to get serious. I just got behind on things. It’s my fault,” Dayon added.

Shantelle Guillory Savoie said she owns the Dunbar Street property.

Savoie said the structure is more like an outdoor kitchen that she described as “half good.”

The rear of the building, said Savoie, needs repair and the wood framing needs repair and is damaged.

Savoie said the building, which is unoccupied, is scheduled to be sold soon as part of a larger adjoining portion of property at the same location.

“I have a buyer and the sale should be closed by July 18. The buyer that we have knows the city is recommending (the outdoor building) for demolition,” Savoie said.

The Bellevue Street property that was set for demolition is an abandoned warehouse owned by Gaiennie Realty Company LLC, according to Scott Collins, who manages property for the business.

Collins estimated that it would take $35,000 to remove the warehouse from the location.

“Right now (the company) doesn’t have the manpower to tear things down. We would have to hire a contractor to do that,” Collins said.

Collins said that initially individuals were able to enter the warehouse, but since then it has become more secured due to additional fencing. Trees that grew up around the warehouse have also been removed after the city began notifying the company that there were issues with the condition.

One of the issues that Collins said he will address is roof patching for the warehouse.  

Demolition procedures are scheduled for the following addresses according to the list discussed at the meeting:

918 Truman Street

1110 Garland Avenue

1750 Bossier Street

926 West Landry Street (permit to demolish was purchased)

1123 South Court Street

1724 Redmond Street

500 Block of West Cherry Street (1 of several mobile homes were removed)

819 East Madison Street