BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A Birmingham resident reached out to our team when she felt the city ignored concerns about her East Thomas community.
Cassandra Morgan, who serves as the Vice President of the East Thomas Neighborhood Association, lives
directly across the street from Malachi Wilkerson Middle School. It is a home that has been in her family since the 1950s. “Win, lose or draw; this is my home,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s house is in the East Thomas Neighborhood within the City of Birmingham. This is a neighborhood she is passionate about keeping clean and safe, especially for the benefit of the neighborhood school children.
“We have problems that have simple solutions. It’s just that no one is listening,” said Morgan.
Morgan says her and her neighbor’s many requests for the city to maintain the neighborhood often became caught in a maddening cycle of bureaucratic procedure.
“We have been doing what we are supposed to do,” Morgan said. “We send in the requests and we have meetings. Then we are running into roadblocks, like ‘this isn’t my department. Call 311. Make a complaint. Did you do this? Did you do that?’ Ok, I’ve crossed off everything on your checklist, and I’m still not seeing any results.”
Then, there’s the problem of illegal dumping. That is one of Morgan’s biggest frustrations.
“People use our neighborhood as a dumping site,” she said.
Our team found a dumping ground roughly a block from the middle school and only feet away from an ignored ‘no dumping’ sign. The waste pile was filled with tires, mattresses, and dilapidated furniture.
We reached out to the city to ask about this problem. They say even with the ‘no dumping signage in the area; it remains a chronic and frustrating issue for the city. The city cleans up the piles around town, and within a few days, the illegal dumping resumes. In some parts of the city, they have also installed cameras to deter people from illegally dumping.
Morgan is also concerned for the neighborhood children that walk to and from school. She says they need access to well-maintained sidewalks “to be able to walk comfortably where someone can see them at all times.”
“Things happen in the blink of an eye,” she said. “We need to have better solutions.”
When I asked Morgan who should be held accountable for the neighborhood’s problems, she said it’s not one person.
She likes her city counselor, LaTonya Tate, so we reached out to Tate to see what she thought.
“Every person that lives in these communities is a stakeholder. Your voice, and your issues, and your concerns are very important to me,” Tate said.
When asked if she shares Morgan’s frustrations, she said, ” of course I do. I mean, I live in the district. I send tons of pictures to (the city) and say, ‘hey, send this over.’ Or, you know, ‘we gotta get this taken care of.’ So I do share similar frustrations,” said Tate.
Since CBS 42 brought this dumping site to the city’s attention, they’ve cleaned up the area. At last check, there are still some old tires in the area, but the collection of garbage has dramatically diminished.
And the Birmingham Department of Transportation is also looking into the stretch of sidewalk along 11th Court West. They are ‘assessing the area to determine next steps.’
“We are working hard, around the clock, every day to be the advocate for District Nine. And that’s what I will continue to do,” Tate said. On September 26th, Tate also held a “state of the district” meeting and is planning to host another on October 20th.
If you have a concern or problem in your neighborhood that you feel is being ignored, email us at YourVoice@cbs42.com.