Residents frustrated with overgrown county-owned lots in New Chicago area

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The grass on the vacant lot next to Andre Ivie is taller than he is. The lot is owned by the county.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Andre Ivie moved into a house on Saint Charles a week ago, but he didn't realize he'd be living next to a jungle.

"I found a lizard in my bedroom," he said. He thinks he knows where it came from.

Next door, there's a vacant lot that's plagued with tall grass, not to mention the piles of trash that was dumped at the curb.

"You never know if someone might be hiding up in there. You don't know if there are snakes," he said.

There's a similar problem one street over on Chicago Avenue, where a vacant lot is also overgrown.

"I think it's terrible. It's just really terrible. It's horrible," resident Willie Moore said. He lives across the street and says the grass hasn't been cut all year.

Moore says he started calling the city's 311 line to complain about the lot several months ago.

Ivie's been calling since he moved in.

"It's a problem for me right now, and it seems like no one wants to do anything," he said. "You're not going to see this in Midtown. You're not going to see this in East Memphis, in Germantown, Cordova. You know, people do live over here."

WREG found out that Shelby County owns the lots and seized them, because the previous owners didn't pay their property taxes. That means the county is responsible for maintaining the lots.

But if you ask Moore, he'll tell you the county is neglecting it.

County officials say a private contractor is in charge of upkeep, but hasn't been to the lots in months. They say that contractor will be fired.

A temporary crew will get to the lots within a week or so.

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