LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's hard to believe, but just about anywhere you go around town - signs of disrepair still linger from Hurricane Rita. Downtown Development Chairman Rick Richard says there is no excuse four years after the storm.
"In Baton Rouge, they are doing aerial pollution and that's what we have here. We have a bunch of signs we know should have been replaced. Rita has been here and gone and whatever happened to the money, they didn't replace the signs, they are eyesores all up and down and around our town," said Richard.
Lake Charles' newly appointed director of planning and development Russ Adams agrees. "We are working to get that taken care of," said Adams.
Just four weeks on the job his department has started a city-wide survey to address the problem. "McNeese Street, Lake Street, Common Street, Ryan Street and Kirkman Street have been completed and there are 47 signs there," explained Adams.
Of those 47 - 20 are on Ryan Street. Adams says by the end of this week those businesses and property owners can expect a certified letter, with an attached copy of the city's ordinance regarding damaged signs.
"But are we enforcing what we say we are going to do to bring pride back to this community and make us feel like a first class city," asked Richard.
City officials say let there be no confusion, if the eyesore is not resolved expect legal action. It's a message that will continue across the city as more streets are surveyed. A sign Lake Charles is serious about first impressions as they lay the welcome mat out for visitors.
"It's the kind of thing that you also want to get cleaned up with the purpose of when visitors come in. We want to make sure they understand that this is a town that has a lot of pride and wants to take care of these kinds of things," said Adams.
To report any eyesore or damaged signs you can call the Lake Charles Public Works Department at 491-1308 or the Mayor's Action Line at 491-1201.