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.

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