Acres of Weeds - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Acres of Weeds

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ALEXANDRIA, La. - For some residents who live near AEX, the loud noise isn't the only problem they have with where they live, they say 6 foot tall weeds are hurting their home values.

For more than four years the England Airpark Authority has been using money from federal grants to buy homes at the Rapides Station neighborhood because of the loud noise from nearby planes. News Channel Five's Nolan Crane shows us why that solution has now created a new problem.

Bob Galloway has lived in this house for twenty-five years and like his neighbors he takes pride in watering the grass and flowers, to keep things looking nice. But less then half a mile away here from his home in Rapides Station, there is a different scene with empty properties choked up with weeds.

"They're a hazard to our community, they look bad, they are a fire hazard. Three, four and five feet tall, weeds vegetation, grass and it will be five and six feet tall when winter comes and when they die it will be a fire hazard," says Bob Galloway.

Mr. Galloway says he is mad that the federal grant money the England Airpark Authority receives pays for the homes and property to be demolished but it won't pay for someone to mow or trim.

"England Authority says they do not have the funding to keep up these properties but it looks so bad on our Rapides Stations community that we're just asking them to use prison labor or something to clean these lots up," says Bob Galloway.

The man overseeing this project for the airpark says he knows some residents are upset but says this is a volunteer project to protect people from the loud airplanes and the government won't pay for the acres of weeds and grass to be trimmed. He says they simply don't have the money.

"I wish the federal government would put the monies up and make them available but they don't so we have that thing that no body likes but we have to live within the funding levels of the program," says Dudley Hixson.

But residents living at Rapides Station say because of the lack of funding to cut these weeds, they're home values are also becoming a problem.

"Well I don't see why anyone would want to buy because there are so many weeds when you come through, when your driving down the road it's so grown up," says Lelia Whitehead.

"We don't want to move but with the deterioration of the community here, it looks like we're not going to have a choice," says Bob Galloway.

The Alexandria Police Jury has prepared a letter they will deliver to the England Airpark Authority requesting them to take care of the weeds and we are told that if after 15 days nothing has been a law suit will be prepared.


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