The fight against blight rolls into a Memphis community

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- When it comes to blight in Memphis, most people living in affected areas will tell you it's hard to miss when it's right in front of you everyday.

Patricia Rogers said this ugly problem is more than just meets the eye in Fox Meadows.

"A lot of those blighted properties that you are about to see, they become havens for drug trafficking, a lot of illegal crimes, you know, prostitution," Rogers said.

Eyesores like old tires, mattresses and shattered glass can affect an entire community.

Renardo Ward is the pastor of Greater Harvest Church of God in Christ.

"There is a tremendous blight problem in our community, where the church is located. It affects not only the citizens who live here, the church, but affects the esteem of the neighborhood," Ward said.

To see blight firsthand, several city leaders gathered for a driving tour. They got a close look at four properties: Wooddale Condominiums, Fox Hollow, Cromwell and Heritage Trails.

Patrice Robinson is a Memphis City Councilwoman for District Three.

"We want to work together and come up with a plan so we won't be in this place again where we have citizens living in deteriorating apartments with bed bugs and trash around them," Robinson said.

We recently asked Mayor Jim Strickland about the problem and what his office plans to do about it.

"We have to immediately address our issues. Crime, blight, trash. Make Memphis more attractive for people to move in, so it's a real top priority," Strickland said.

It's a top priority for Rogers and others joining in the fight against blight.

"You know there's a lot going on, and we are trying to make a difference," Rogers said.

Community leaders are also planning a Memphis Blight Elimination Summit. The summit is scheduled for March 17 at the University of Memphis' Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

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