Citizens Push To Keep Foote Homes Housing Development
(Memphis) Vance Avenue, a neighborhood full of history, and now one in line for major renovations.
The City wants to revitalize the area, tear some old things down and put in some new.
“We have families here, generations of families. To displace them is uncalled for,” says James Smith, who lives in the area.
No one knows what it means for Vance’s Foote Homes Housing Development.
The grassroots citizens group, Vance Collaborative, fears the city will re-locate Foote Homes residents and build new homes that are too expensive for them to come afford.
“People want to come back and a lot of them not gonna be able to come back unless you got a job. You won’t be able to afford your house note or rent,” says neighbor Betty Isom.
They say it happened before with other housing projects remodeled by the city.
“The housing looks great, but it doesn’t serve the community it was designed to assist,” says Kenneth Reardon with the Vance Collaborative
The Vance Collaborative had been working with the city, but is now presenting its own plan to the city council.
They don’t want the Vance area to become a tourist attraction, but an economic engine with stores, after school programs and jobs.
“It’s about how do we best serve the 426 families in public housing and the 1,800 families who live in this neighborhood and our city,” says Reardon.
Memphis Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb says the city is getting residential input and nothing has been finalized on the plan for Vance Avenue.
He says it will not be a tourist spot, but mixed-use with commercial and residential developments.
He says there also will be a focus on the area’s historical significance.
Lipscomb says re-located residents will have an opportunity to get in a program to help them become self-sufficient, and they can move back if they qualify.