Blight Fight Revamped In Memphis

(Memphis) If you want to know the real issues of fighting blight in Memphis, look no further than one home in Frayser home.

A huge tree fell on the house a year ago and still hasn’t been removed.

“It destroys the neighborhood. I think cities should help the neighborhood out you know,” says George White,, who lives in Frayser.

WREG inquired about the eyesore last summer after neighbors said the owners left .

“The city should come out and do something about it and charge the owner to get that up,” says White.

Onzie Horne, then the city deputy director over blight control said  there were a lot of factors that made the property difficult to clear out, but they were working on it.

Now Horne is out of a job over issues with spending in his department.

Memphis CAO George Little says new plans are underway to work with property owners and the courts to get these eyesores clear.

“We need to do a better job of coordinating with the environmental court and really following up on the cases that are there, not just to get action, but there are fees and fines we could get with proper documentation through the court,” says Little.

He says they still plan to clean up 25-square areas of blight at a time, but with more accountability over what areas get attention first and then tracking the progress.

“Just make sure there is greater accountability so citizens all  across the city can see benefits of the program, not necessarily the areas that have been the focus in the past for whatever reason,” says Little.

He says more code enforcers are being hired to work split and weekend shifts to  catch code violators, all with the goal of getting a better handle on a big problem that’s plaguing a lot of neighborhoods.

A new acting administrator for neighborhood improvement is also in place and next month the city will again start working on tall weeds and brush taking over some areas.

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