Memphis begins renovations of Elvis Presley Boulevard

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —The long wait should be over for people and business owners in Whitehaven as the city marks the beginning of work on Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Cracked pavements and potholes line the thoroughfare. Councilwoman Patrice Robinson says she hears about it from her neighbors more than anything else.

"I hear about it anytime I go through the grocery store and anytime I stop at any of the restaurants," she said.

In 2012 City Council members, including Jim Strickland, voted to move forward with improvements to the road. But they never happened.

"We believe requirements changed mid-way. Federal and state requirements change a little, so that slowed us down even more," Mayor Strickland said regarding the drawn-out process of buying the rights to the land lining Elvis Presley Boulevard.

They're still working on buying up that land, but have progressed enough to get started.

"We're getting ready to widen the street. There are going to be a lot of new amenities, sidewalks. We're going to re-pave, stripe bike lanes, going to do LED lighting. Going to be some nice amenities of some greenery," Public Works Director Robert Knecht said.

Officials hope greenery in the form of trees and bushes will give way to greenery in the form of cash. The city has already committed nearly $40 million.

"We want even just a Chick-fil-a. Come on. We are welcoming people, and when we get the street done I think developers will see we mean business," Robinson said.

Officials say the three phases of construction are slated to finish in 2022.

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