TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — A pair of historic buildings in downtown Tupelo could be demolished soon.
City officials say the two North Spring Street structures, one of them being the Jefferson Davis Hotel, are a danger to the public.
On Oct. 8, the city sent the then-owner, former mayor Jason Shelton, a condemnation order for both properties. He was ordered to demolish the structures and remove all debris by Nov. 8.
Shelton told the Daily Journal he does not contest that the buildings are in disrepair, but believes the buildings are worth preserving. Shelton, a Democrat, also said he believes the current mayor, Republican Todd Jordan, is targeting him politically because he’s criticized him on social media.
Jordan has said he is not targeting Shelton and he is only worried about the community’s safety.
Shelton initially appealed the October condemnation order on the basis that the city was acting outside its legal authority. That appeal has now been postponed indefinitely, according to a press release from the city of Tupelo. Shelton said he is now selling one of the properties, and is trying to sell the other.
“I don’t want to fight with the city on this,” Shelton said.
Although the city has condemned the properties, it does not yet have the legal authority to tear the buildings down. State law requires the city to hold a public hearing before the properties are demolished to give homeowners a chance to contest the city’s order.
City Attorney Ben Logan said that the buildings are currently on the city’s blight review list, and the city council could vote to tear the buildings down at the beginning of 2022.
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