The City of Bastrop is helping to clean up blighted property with the Blights Out program, a cost-efficient way for owner's of overgrown property to beautify cited property.

Director of Community Development Jay Blackmon-Williams said the Blights Out program offered through the City of Bastrop could save a person thousands of dollars.

"It usually costs a person about $2,500 to tear down a house," he said. "But now individuals can go through the city's program and get it done for a few hundred dollars, usually. The city has invested in equipment that is able to do the work."

Blackmon-Williams said there are three phases of beautification. Phase One involves the clean up of overgrown properties, where rats and critters hide. He also said this phase of cleanup has helped to eliminate crime.

"Overgrown weeds and bushes have helped to provide cover for prostitution houses and places where people meet to fight because they cannot be seen through all the overgrown brush," he said. "We had a house on Martin Luther King Drive that we cleared up, and now it can no longer be used for prostitution because it is too visible. The same for two properties on Fairfield that were being used for people who met and had fights."

Phase Two of the process involves the actual bringing down of the blighted property, and Phase Three is returning the areas back to the community, he said.

"Phase Three can involve different church groups, fraternities, sororities and clubs coming in and adopting an area to clean," he said.

To report blighted property or to volunteer to bring property into compliance, write to obw@cityofbastrop.com.

Cutline 01 and 02: The house on Austin Street was not visible under all the brush until it was recently cleaned-up in a Phase One cleaning process orchestrated by the city's Blights Out program. Director of Community Development Jay Blackmon-Williams said neighbors of the property said they have not been able to see the house for years, but was a nest for many rodents and mosquitos.