Southwest Memphis residents worried about 2011 flood-related grant

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Southwest Memphis residents feel like the county got a goldmine, but they're worried about how it might be used.

It's been seven years since the disasterous Mississippi River flooding, and, to this day, many are still living in water damaged homes.

Shelby County got federal disaster relief money through a grant, but residents in the Cypress Creek area are concerned it won't be spent the right way.

It was the subject of a meeting at Mitchell High School Thursday night.

In all, we're talking about roughly $10 million that's slated for flood prevention with the city chipping in $100,000 for home repair, which isn't much.

But residents are mainly concerned about $1.5 million that's budgeted for new walking and bike trails.

Members of the West Junction Coalition don't want money spent on that while people are living in homes they can't afford to fix.

"We want to put priorities where they are supposed to be. We want people back in their homes and we want them to be healthy and good environments to live in," Pastor George Ward says.

One woman, who doesn't want to be identified, showed us her water damaged house.

Her floors are falling apart, and there's mold everywhere. The conditions are so bad she has to wear a mask over her mouth and nose everyday.

"It's depressing. It makes you feel a sense of hopelessness, helplessness," she says.

She's hoping for a portion of the disaster relief money and says she' rather fix her home than move.

County officials heard the crowd's concerns Thursday night.

They are now willing to see if some or all of that walking and bike trail money should be shifted to home repair.

"If the will of the group is those amenities are not the way we would like to see the money spent... That's certainly something we can work with the community on," Shelby County Division of Planning and Development Director John Zeanah says.

The county plans on having more meetings like the one tonight so officials can get more input from the community.

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