Downtown 'slum' could bring in more money

Downtown 'slum' could bring in more money

(WMC-TV) - Slum is defined by Merriam-Webster as a "densely populated usually urban area marked by crowding, dirty run-down housing, poverty, and social disorganization".

Do you think downtown Memphis falls into that category?

Downtown Memphis is home to Beale Street, the famous Peabody Hotel, AutoZone Park, and the FedEx Forum.  But the mayor says designating the downtown area as a "slum" could bring in more money.

Mayor Wharton says the term slum is actually a legal term; but, whatever you call it, portions of downtown have to be renovated.

"We want to make sure everybody grows and that includes residents of Foote and Cleaborn Homes," said the Mayor.

Wharton says in order to further develop areas like the riverfront and the area surrounding FedEx Forum, two housing projects need a face lift.

Wharton says Memphis is already known across the country for changing the face of public housing.

"It does us no good to develop and expand Beale Street. We'll be taking that over in just a few days. We want to make sure the whole environment down there is wholesome," added Wharton.

Wharton and other downtowners are discussing a proposed 20-year redevelopment plan that would bring in $100 million in tax revenue.

That money would be spent on the renovation of Foote and Cleaborn homes.

This entire effort is part of the city's "Heritage Trail" proposal.

"There is a fear that everybody was gonna be locked out...that King Robert Lipscomb was gonna come in and strike down his gavel and that gonna be it. That is not the case," continued the Mayor.

Mayor Wharton says discussions on this issue are in the premature stages.

Members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association say they are concerned about this designation of downtown as a slum, fearing that it will hinder future growth and lower property values.

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