MACON, Georgia ( 41NBC/WMGT) – An app created to give residents a way to report blight will soon be available to the public.
The Blexting App was brought to Macon by Commissioner Virgil Watkins as a way to help commissioners learn more about blight from residents.
20 volunteers go out to neighborhoods daily to conduct surveys about blight and post them on the app.
“We want to bring our areas up to compliance. We want to make everything look better,” Watkins said.
The commissioners have about $12,000,000 in Splost funds to help with blight improvements.
“For years we’ve talked loosely about how many houses are affected, but this is allowing us to get a physical picture, ” Watkins said. “Along with a pretty good summary of the conditions of that property to allow us to better plan for what we plan to do next.”
Mayor Reichert said the app helps the commissioners get a clear picture of the issues they need to address.
“Something that’s not blighted today can become blighted overnight. And you say, how can that be,” Reichert said. “It catches fire. You’ve had a fire lost and now there it stands as a burned skeleton, well that’s blight.”
All someone has to do it take a picture of an area, upload it, and then complete a survey about the property.
“This gives a way that people can immediately update the situation of any house. It doesn’t have to be one that’s been blighted forever. It can be one that’s newly blighted,” Reichert said.
The survey asks questions like:
- What is the site used for?
- Is there a structure on site?
- Is the structure fire damaged?
- Is the building secure or open to trespass?
The app has a legend to help someone understand what the different colors mean.
- red = unoccupied
- blue = occupied
- gray = parking lot
- light green = vacant lot
- neon green/mint = garden
Watkins said he already sees potential on the map.
“We have a lot of unoccupied structures and a lot of vacant lots, so where I think looking at it from a different lens, shows a lot of potential.”
Watkins started the survey in June and says it will end this month. So far 20,000 people have completed the survey. The goal is 33,000.
Watkins said the app will soon become available to everyone in the public, but for now residents should use the app See, Click, Fix.