Mayor Wharton, law students file 1,000th blight lawsuit - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Wharton, law students file 1,000th blight lawsuit

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton  and a team University of Memphis law school students stepped up to sue owners of blighted properties. 

On Thursday, they filed the one thousandth blight lawsuit since the beginning of the Neighborhood Preservation Clinic. 

"This is a sin against the citizens of Memphis. It's a crime quite frankly,” exclaimed Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

Mayor Wharton explained majority of the suits include owners that do not live in Memphis. 

The recent lawsuits include owners living in New Zealand, Mississippi and Florida.   

"When you allow these conditions to exist. It's just like taking a gun and robbing somebody. Because you’re robbing them of the value of their property,” stated Wharton.

Currently there are 57 properties pending demolition and 350 cases in environmental court. City leaders explained they want to do more than tear down deplorable buildings. 
"The best way of approaching blight is redevelopment. Obviously, we can knock it down but then all we have are vacant parcels,” said President and CEO of the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County, Reid Dulberger. “If we're not building in its place, we’re not creating that quality that our people deserve.”
EDGE launched a new initiative to use tax abatements to spur new commercial projects for non-profit and for-profit businesses in urban areas.
"What this tool does is it helps that rebirth, the revitalization, growth in our communities. We're not simply going to knock down the blight. We're going to put up something good in its place,” explained Dulberger.

If you are interested in EDGE's revitalization program, click here to see if you qualify.
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