Forsyth blight fighter encouraging property owners to clean up
The city hired its first ever code enforcement officer to pinpoint how bad the structures are and what needs to be done.
“I just love the community. I want to help them fix up their property,” Code Enforcement Officer Jannie Thombley says.
She says she wants the city to flourish.
The former cop isn’t slowing down since giving up her badge. The newly hired officer is tackling blighted structures in the area.
“I tell them we have an ordinance against blighted areas. It’s every homeowner’s responsibility to keep up their property,” Thombley says.
“It’s a sore to the eye,” James Penaman says.
He lives a block away and says its time to get rid of the problem.
“You have like three or four houses in a one block span that are unoccupied and have been unoccupied for at least 10 to 12 years,” Penaman says.
Thombley gets calls from concerned neighbors about nearly a dozen structures and also notices them while so’en on patrol.
“It’s up to me to remind them and say ‘hey, we don’t appreciate you leaving your property unattended to,” Thombley says.
She’s concerned about the damage to the structures: the broken glass and doors. She says right now it’s a minor problem, but she’s afraid it could get worse.
She contacts property owners almost daily since starting the job in May — letting them know about the damage, the tall grass, and the openings around the houses that could lead to danger.
Sometimes finding those owners isn’t easy, but Thombley enjoys the challenge.
“This is a small community. Everybody knows everybody and if they don’t know them personally, they know somebody that knows them. It’s a wonderful community. I love it,” she says.
Thombley says she’s most at home looking after her community, and adds there’s no better fit to keep up with her passion.
“I love it. I really do. Where else can you come to work in blue jeans?” she asks while laughing.
Thombley says there are still several things she has to learn about the job. She’s also responsible for making sure posted signs aren’t interfering with right of ways in the city and tracking down businesses operating without permits.
She plans to continue the ‘blight fight’ until she retires in a few years.