WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon’s new program “Operation Clean Up, Clear Out” aims to clear abandoned properties, overgrown, vacant lots, and broken down vehicles, but some property owners say the mayor is overstepping his bounds.
McClendon is excited about “Operation Clean Up, Clear Out,” which is already changing the landscape of South 25th Street, the site of a mobile home community for more than 60 years.
“What we are doing is clearing this out, bringing new affordable homes, and giving people something to be proud about,” said McClendon. “We had over a hundred trailers, and eighty percent of them were abandoned, and kids were trying to come through from schools not knowing whether or not they were being safe.”
McClendon says the project aims to make that area of West Memphis safe and livable. However, some residents who still own mobile homes in the area aren’t happy with how, they say, the City took over the property.
“A lot of property they cleared up and stuff like that, they ain’t talked to anybody. People still own their property, but they just went and did a clean up on their own instead of talking to people like they supposed to,” said a West Memphis property owner.
McClendon says the City has been working with property owners throughout the process.
The Mayor’s hard-hitting operation is also strictly enforcing a policy on towing vehicles that aren’t operational.
Greg Allen says his 2002 Crown Vic was pulled from his driveway recently.
Allen says the city towing his car is unfair. He claims he had a fuel pump problem, so the car was jacked up while he was working on it.
A man who doesn’t want to be identified says the mayor and council are using strong-arm tactics to take over property.
“They talk about clean up or get out, and that’s something like Eminent Domain,” said a West Memphis property owner.
But McClendon says that the council has challenged him to enforce the laws and get West Memphis where it needs to be.
WREG was told that residents upset with the mayor’s policies regarding property and unlawfully towing vehicles plan to make their concerns heard at Thursday’s City Council meeting.