Concerns about city’s appearance for MLK50 events


Tom Lee Park

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — City officials say they expect up to 75,000 visitors by Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination.

Patrice Payne, who works in Gaithersburg, Maryland, just arrived in Memphis for her first visit.

"I came here for the conference and the MLK march," she said.

The community advocate said her initial impression was mixed.

"It's definitely preserved its history. It's very old-looking," she said.

But those who live here worry about these first impressions.

A viewer sent us a picture of trash covering the parking lot at Tom Lee Park Sunday. By Monday, it was cleaned up.

"It looks kind of crazy during events, but on regular days it looks clean," resident Antario Graffed said.

City officials said Memphis City Beautiful has been coordinating litter cleanup.

They’re also asking people to plant red flowers to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, and they’re giving out seeds at events all week.

"I want an accurate picture of Memphis, which is a great city with great people that has momentum," Mayor Jim Strickland said.

Local business owner Harold Moore said he still worried about the way the city looked and how it operates without trolleys.

"By them not being up and running we may miss out on a lot of people not coming," Moore said. "Downtown is normally clean. I’m just looking at the empty buildings."

Visitors like Payne may have to walk, but she says she's still looking forward to a meaningful trip.


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