The Hobson City Community and Economic Development Corporation kicked off its Pride Hobson City campaign Saturday, offering other residents assistance in keeping their properties clean.
“We’re trying to remove blighted properties in Hobson City,” said Eric Stringer, president of the development corporation. “We want to inspire the community to clean up dilapidated sites.”
Stringer said the group was not trying to force or demand residents keep their properties in order.
“We are just going to owners and asking them how can we help them clean up their sites,” Stringer said.
The group was out Saturday morning with a handful of volunteers, cleaning up unsightly plant growth in downtown Hobson City.
“We purchased chain saws and weed eaters to work on this,” Stringer said. “We worked on a site where the owners started building a house but never finished and the weeds and trees had grown up through the foundation.”
Besides improving the look of the site, the group hopes to deter unwanted activities there as well.
“It has been a place where guys sit under the shade and drink beer and wine,” Stringer said.
The state’s oldest incorporated black town, Hobson City was once a thriving community filled with businesses and different recreational activities. Now, only a lone service station remains, hardly enough to constitute a tax base for the town. As such, buildings and homes are boarded up and are deteriorating while others are overgrown with vegetation and the population count has been on a downward trend for decades.
“There are some properties that need to be abated, but that is not being done,” Stringer said.
The development corporation was formed in a response to the deterioration of the town. The organization was formed in 2008 by a group of concerned citizens to raise money for the town when it could no longer afford the electric bill at the Town Hall.
The group has been out doing what it can to improve the town ever since, including cleaning up Hobson City’s municipal park and its historic cemetery.
Stringer said the group’s plan is to continue running the program one weekend a month and clean as many sites in town as possible, gaining more volunteers along the way.
“We hope to make this a community initiative,” Stringer said.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the program can call Eric Stringer at 256-283-0900.