People fighting to keep blighted neighborhood livable

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The grass was so high it looked like a jungle.

The blight so bad, neighbors believed the City of Memphis has abandoned them.

Drive into the area near Farrigton and Modder Avenue in South Memphis, and you will see the out of control dumping and crumbling, abandoned homes.

Some there told WREG they are desperately fighting to keep their neighborhood livable.

All the city has given them over the years are more broken promises.

"If you go to the corner right there and go that way or go to the corner there and go that way, the whole neighborhood changes," one neighbor Squeaky Wesley said.

Wesley and his wife Sherrie have been living in the South Memphis neighborhood for 14 years and in that time, have watched it fall apart.

"It's changed a lot. Debris, torn down houses, fields all full of grass," Sherrie said.

Still, it hasn't stopped some from trying.

In the middle of the blighted area we found several blocks where the yards were pristine and homes were well cared for.

"You see this raggedy, abandoned house, and these houses have their yards kept up," one woman pointed out.

Many, like the Wesleys, said they were taking on work that should be the city's responsibility.

"If I don't try to keep it clean, it will be like this," Wesley said, pointing to an overgrown lot next to his house.

Sherrie said she and her neighbors have called the city over the years asking for help.

Officials with the city told WREG they have only received one call from the area about the grass outside a burned up house.

They said they cut the grass last month, but neighbors said it, like much of this neighborhood, has already been forgotten once again.

"Stand by your word," Sherrie implored. "Do what you said you were going to do. Do what you told the people you were going to do, what you all are getting all this money to do. Let us see what you're going to do with it."

The Director of Public Works told WREG they will tour the area to address issues, but that demolishing abandoned houses not owned by the city often involves long, legal battles.