Exxon's Sprucing Project Frustrating Some Mayflower Residents

MAYFLOWER, AR -- Exxon Mobil is dropping some cash to spruce up homes the company now owns in Mayflower.  After the oil spill last March the company bought up more than 20 properties of homeowners wanting to get out.  But not all are happy about the timing of the project.
"My two big trees in the backyard, they took out," said Michele Ward while showing us around her N. Starlite Road home.  Ward's home was one most directly affected by the oil spill last March.

"The oil came right through here," said Ward, pointing to her property line.

Ward is one of the few still living on her block.  Most homes have been sold to Exxon Mobil and sit empty.

"I hope [the neighborhood] can get back and people will want to buy homes," said Ward.

Exxon Mobil has the same hopes.  The company is converting one of the homes it bought there into a sales office to market its properties.

The company also working to repaint and landscape its homes.

"I do think it's a good thing," said Ward.  "I just think they should've started with maybe some of us before they started with their own properties."

Wards says Exxon Mobil never offered work on her place even though trees were torn out and plants died during the time she was evacuated.

"I thought that was the whole goal here was to put it back to the way things were before it happened," said Ward.

Exxon Mobil says its goal with the project is to keep property values in the neighborhood up.  Some of the work will be done on common areas, including a remake of the sign at the entrance to the neighborhood.

Ward joked that the sign should read, "beware this is an area that has suffered from an oil spill," obviously still frustrated by what she and her family have gone through.

Exxon Mobil has offered to buy Ward's home and along with others impacted by the spill.  So far, she's been one of the few not wanting to leave.

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