Group fights for Memphis' only public housing project

Group fights for Memphis' only public housing project

(WMC-TV) – A group made up of area business leaders and residents are fighting against a city plan to demolish the only public housing project in Memphis.

At a news conference Monday morning, Vance Avenue Collaborative announced its own plan, which happens to be very different than the city's plan.

"The overall goal of this plan is to make the Vance Avenue neighborhood the nation's shining example of Dr. King's notion of the beloved community," said Kenneth Reardon, Vance Avenue Collaborative.

The plan members in this group are campaigning for would take some federal funds from HUD to "revitalize" the Foote Homes housing project and the surrounding neighborhood.

"We are the majority in our community and we deserve and opportunity to empower ourselves," said organizer James Smith.

The group is made up of a cross section of Foote Homes residents, area business leaders, and others.

Their goal is to revitalize the area. They also developed a campaign titled "Don't Remove Foote

Homes and Our Neighborhoods."

Through social media, petitions, letter writing, and other efforts, this group hopes to stop the City of Memphis from tearing down the homes and replacing them with a residential development called Heritage Trails.

Members say that plan would displace residents and that it has no provisions that would give local workers and businesses a piece of the economic pie.

"But economically you will not be able to return because there's no kind of jobs or contracts agreements that are provided on these contracts," said Smith.

Members of the group say they know they have their work cut out for them. But they say it's important work and they plan to fight for it.

Members of the Vance Avenue Collaborative hope to present their renovation plan to city council members on Tuesday, October 16.

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