Changes coming to the Raleigh Springs Mall

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- New life is coming to the Raleigh Springs area after years of battling blight and a merchant fight.

"I have a blank canvas here and this canvass just has so many possibilities," said project architect Tom Marshall with O.T. Marshall Architects.

Mall owners have been holding out selling for some time. Now they've finally come to an agreement with the city. That means the city can move forward with a $28 million redevelopment plan.

Now after at least a half decade there is a timeline for when the project could be completed.

According to Council member Bill Morrison, who spearheaded the project, that's late summer 2018.

In order to make that happen, the deal needs to be signed off by judge. That's expected to happen on November 18.

"Oh this is a long time coming. You know I'm a Raleigh boy to begin with so I believe in this project," said Marshall.

Applause and cheers erupted when Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Councilman Morrison announced the city could soon start work on a major community center that's been stalled for years Thursday night.

"In some ways these delays have helped us craft an even better opportunity. We've had a lot of input sessions with the community," said Marshall.

Marshall said soon the massive, sprawling, empty building will be demolished.

The new community center will include a police precinct, library, 11-acre lake, walking trail and orchard.

"We're gonna have a championship, world class skate park," he said.

Marius Blake recently opened a business across the street.

"That'll be good for me cause more customers come in," said Blake.

He chose his location because of the promised changes and is anxiously looking to the future.

"Really make the neighborhood thrive. More people, more jobs and that's a good thing so that's what I'm really waiting on," he said.

This plan has sounded great for so long but Friday councilman Morrison was able to give a tentative timeline. If a judge signs off on the deal this month demolition could begin in the next few months and we could see completion by late Summer 2018.