Blighted Apartments Will Become Family Center In Riverview-Kansas Community

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(Memphis) It might look like blight now, but one burned out apartment complex on Kansas Street in South Memphis will soon become an example of what the city hopes will happen in plenty of other communities.

Families vacated the apartments at 1657 Kansas after the place caught fire earlier this year. The burned out units now sit empty and exposed, but not for long.

The city plans to tear down the burned units.

"When you look at blight and crime that has been encountered in the area, it's time," said Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford Jr., who represents the district.

The organization Health Watch Urban Ministry will set up the new 'Riverview Alive: Family Life and Wellness Center'.

"In order for this to maintain itself long-term,  we have to heal. We have to heal families. We have to heal overall communities to make sure this continues to be a thriving area," said Dr. Kimberly Lamar of Health Watch Urban Ministry.

The center will be a place those who live in Riverview-Kansas can come for family counseling, parenting classes, job training and health screenings, and even support for alcohol and drug abuse.

"We are not merely building buildings. We are building and rebuilding the people," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

Oak Grove Baptist Church sits in the heart of Riverview-Kansas and reached out with support for many of the residents.

"We have one person in rehab now and we have some others we have helped to get their GEDs," says Oak Grove Pastor James Kendrick.

The pastor says this family center will go a long way in helping so many more.

"It's a city agenda. It is a community agenda. It is a church agenda. It belongs to all of us and it will take each and every one of us to pull off what we are trying to accomplish," said Pastor Kendrick.

It's all about turning burned out blight into something beneficial