MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis residents are rallying one last time to convince the Shelby County Board of Adjustments to deny ALSAC St. Jude’s proposal to build a parking garage on A.W. Willis between third and fourth streets.
“We care about St. Jude’s children, but we care about our own,” one concerned resident, Tanja Mitchell said.
Plans initially included a seven-story, above-ground, “employee only” parking garage able to hold more than 1,600 vehicles.
Residents such as Valerie Pevy believe the garage would be detrimental to the wellbeing of the community due to an increase in traffic.
“We’re one block away from a park and a community center,” Pevy said. “So, there’s no way this will not alter and harm this community.”
Pevy said in recent months, St. Jude met with residents multiple times and agreed on a five-story, above-ground and two-story below-ground garage with retail on the bottom. However, she says that is not enough.
“We do appreciate all of the changes that St. Jude has made,” Pevy said. “However, our community has a community plan, and that community plan was to make this a Greenspace with commercial and residential options.”
Community members tell us to their knowledge ALSAC initially considered another location for the parking garage on North Danny Thomas Boulevard near I-40, but those plans changed. Now community members are wondering what happened.
“Why did you change your mind,” Mitchell said. “Do you not value our opinions anymore?”
St. Jude said in a statement below:
“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, have grown by more than 1,200 jobs over the past six years, and likely will add roughly 1,800 more jobs over the next six years while continuing to expand construction and development in the front of our campus into the Pinch District as we grow our mission to advance research and lifesaving treatment for children worldwide. The growth in Memphis has fueled the need for additional new construction, including more parking, and we have continued to partner with the community to plan for a development that brings new opportunities for investment and employment to our fellow neighbors, while preserving the rich history of the area we have invested in and called home for 60 years. The planned garage, to be constructed over an open bayou, will allow us to decommission current surface parking along A.W. Willis Avenue.“
The Board of Adjustments is scheduled to make a decision on the garage during Wednesday’s meeting.