Cleaning up a huge eyesore becomes town effort

Cleaning up a huge eyesore becomes town effort
By: Arnold Wyrick
WILLISVILLE, Ill. - For folks living along Broadway in Willisville, cleaning up the Appertain's home is long over due.
On Monday, the village fire department closed down the road and began hauling off loads of garbage. "I feel bad for the elderly woman who lives there.  But, I'm glad that for us neighbors it's getting cleaned up.  I think the two older daughters who live in the house, with their mother, should be the ones over there picking things up.  But, they don't," says Jennifer Ross of Willis.
She and her family have lived across the street from the Appertain's home for the past 6 years. "Mostly I'm afraid of rats, and roaches.  Because my kids are always outside playing in our yard."
Her fears, are also shared by health officials at the Perry County Health Department. "There's rats running all over, we've already killed 4.  We're probably only about 10 percent into the garbage.  Obviously I'm worried about the rodent problem," says Doug Corbett, administrator for Perry County Health Department.
The mayor of Willisville, Clarence Warner, says he can't take responsibility for getting the mess cleaned up.  That work was done by the previous mayor, over a four year period of legal wrangling in courtrooms. "We've been working on this for a long time, not only for the people who live around here, but also for our city," says Mayor Clarence Warner.
"The outside is going to take at least a week to get cleaned up.  And then we'll just have to go from there.  It's going to be a slow process.  But, we'd like to get it done before warm weather."
Unfortunately for those who call themselves neighbors, getting the property cleaned up is only the beginning. There's still the house and what's inside to deal with next. "Inside it's up to your waste in just plain filth and garbage.  I mean they literally have to walk up a ramp of garbage, and cat feces to get inside the house," Corbett said.
"A couple of years ago the city gave the family two storage sheds to put things in, in order to keep their property picked up.  And they literally filled them up with garbage and rotting food.  If you walk by there the stench is so bad you almost pass out."
There is no estimate as to what the clean up is going to cost the tiny town of 600 plus residents.  But, the mayor says they're doing the job as efficiently as they can. "Everyone out her is volunteering their time, from the fire fighters, to police and myself.  It's still going to cost us for the dumpster, and for the trash company to come in and pick it up, and bring it back."
Perry County Animal Control is also going to get involved with the clean up efforts, to remove more than 70 cats living in the house.