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New plan to fight blight in Jacksonville

Announcement expected to be made at 10 a.m. at Hemming Plaza

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Call it extreme spring cleaning. Some big changes are coming to Jacksonville neighborhoods to help spruce up the city's appearance.

Wednesday morning several new measures will be announced to ramp up the fight against blight in urban neighborhoods.

Organizations involved can't give many details before the big announcement, other than it's a joint effort to make Jacksonville a cleaner and safer city to live in.

I spoke with a councilman on the blight committee who told me they have met frequently for the last year or so, after they decided it was time to clean up Jacksonville.

"Snipe signs, abandoned buildings, over grown lots, litter, illegal dumping... you name it," said City Councilman John Crescimbeni.

Crescimbeni said those are just a few issues the blight committee is trying to tackle -- and they're excited to be announcing a new blight-flighting initiative Wednesday morning.

In January, members were caught off-guard when they learned inmate crews assigned to clean up trash around the city, were being limited. But Crescimbeni said blight isn't just about litter on the side of the road.

Another issue is "mop and bucket" car washes running without permits. Crescimbeni said the council gets complaints that many of these businesses are illegal.

"Some of these car washes that are pedaling drugs or what have you, bring a bad light to the neighborhood and the committee feels responsible to look at those issues at well," said Crescimbeni.

The owner of a car wash on Moncrief Road, told us many of them are just trying to make a living.

"Everyone here is trying to make an honest living... No wrong doing up here, no drugs. I run a decent car wash. All the customers enjoy themselves and get their cars clean. That is what the car wash is about, nothing else," said Willie Turner.

I also spoke with the executive director of the Children's Commission who said blight has a huge impact on our city's children, saying their goal is to keep kids educated, safe and healthy.

The announcement is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in Hemming Plaza.