South Memphis residents want long-term fix for recurring dumping issue

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — People living in one South Memphis neighborhood are sick of seeing tons of trash piled up on the side of the road, not only creating an eyesore but also potential health issues.

People living in the area of Warren and Ferguson, which is just one problem area, said they need a more long-term fix.

Frank Johnson showed what he sees when he looks at the dozens of overturned boxes.

“It’s like someone is cleaning out old houses,” he said.

Johnson was correct, as basically everything but the kitchen sink was out by the road, including a television, cassette tapes, carpet, a couch and bag after bag of trash. 

“It’s just disrespectful to the community as a whole,” Johnson said.

Johnson is president of the Alcy-Ball Neighborhood Association and takes deep pride in the area.

“Born and raised, most of the families over here are still original families,” he said.

The biggest disaster WREG saw Tuesday afternoon was at Warren and Ferguson.

Johnson said neighbors constantly call 311 to report dumping at the spot, and according to the Memphis data hub, a complaint was recently closed at the location.

Johnson said that’s true, but it didn’t stay clean for long.

“As soon as that was taken up, somebody comes and dumps a whole new stack of garbage right on top of it,” Johnson said.

WREG drove around to several spots within about a mile radius of the mess and noticed several other piles of roadside debris that hadn’t been picked up, including by the now-abandoned Warren apartments off Clementine. 

“This is just constant, and you get tired of fighting these same battles,” Johnsom said.

WREG emailed the city pictures of the problems. A spokesperson said the city would install a camera in the area and sent the following statement.

“In response your inquiry, Environmental Enforcement will investigate this location.  Violators face possible arrest and fines, in addition to paying restitution. Also, the State has been successful in issuing indictments for charges including Theft of Services, Aggravated Criminal Littering, and Vandalism over $1,000. City residents are advised to report illegal dumping to 311.  Reporting illegal dumping allows the city to re-evaluate future deployment of surveillance cameras and prioritize the efficient use of its resources.”

It’s these consistent problems Johnson said people in the neighborhood are tired of.

“But it’s also disrespectful because we pay our taxes over here,” he said. “We do things, and we expect city services.”

He acknowledged the city can’t fix everything, but residents hoping for more long-term solutions.

“You know the community as a whole has been calling about these spots and making noise about this,” Johnson said. “It gets to the point to where you get tired of being neglected when you’re actually paying for these services to work for you.”

The city spokesperson reminded residents to report issues to 311.

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