City Announces Blight Demolition Plans

(Memphis) Memphis Mayor A C Wharton announced plans to demolish several large blighted apartment complexes.

Wharton began the announcements at the Winchester Gardens apartment building Friday morning.

“The initial issue was a foreclosure around the time of the economic crisis in 2007. We were in court for about two years and we resulted in a consent order. All of the property owners said we don’t care. Go and tear it down,” said Memphis city attorney Steve Barlow about what took so long for the city to get to where they can tear down the property.

It will cost $478,000 to demolish Winchester Gardens and for asbestos abatement.

The property has changed hands ten times in five years, which made it tough to track down the property owner at times.

The Mayor, along with Councilman Harold Collins and many others also stopped at the Walter Simmons apartment complex.

It’s been vacant for nearly ten years.

In about six weeks, the buildings will come down, costing the city $1.6 million.

“Who’s going keep investing if there are all these eyesores,” said Wharton.

Also Friday, 15 code inspectors went through the blighted Wooddale Condominiums.

They are working on a detailed report to take to Environmental Court at the beginning of 2014.

The money for anti-blight comes from $3 million put in this year’s budget and $1.4 million that was left over from last year’s anti-blight budget.

For those who live near the abandoned properties, this is a long time coming.

“The children, they walk through here to school and it’s just really bothersome that they have to walk through this. You never know what’s going on,” said Kamisha Jackson.

4 comments

    • Don

      It will take more than that to clean the blight out of city hall.
      Something like the feds investigating would be a good start

  • Thomas H. Evans

    “And i would like to announce my kick off reelection campaign” by doing something that has taken me right to election time to make happen. This announcement can’t make Harold Collins too happy when he is campaigning on the thing, blight! This is another one of those things where I don’t trust the mayor and his staff; why couldn’t they have done this earlier, and yes, I read the article, but the excuses used here doesn’t stop the city from cleaning up our streets and highways. So Harold Collins talks about what the people see when they come into our city, and the mayor talks about tearing down deserted apartments, but neither has done anything before now, and I’m not sure they can be trusted to do anything for sure now. I am very suspect of all of this talk about blight now, when some communities have been begging for help for years.

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