Neighbors fight proposed 'Overton Gateway' project

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Midtown homeowners say a proposed development would ruin the feel of the community and be totally out of place in their neighborhood.

Neighbors said they will do whatever it takes to keep the upscale apartment complex from ending up on the 8-acre land at East Parkway and Sam Cooper Boulevard across from Overton Park.

"I think it's terrible," Ken Kelly summed up what he said most of his Midtown neighbors think about the proposal.

"I've been waiting 16 years for the land to be developed," said Rose Doherty. "I would really like it to be filled with single family homes. I've worked hard in our neighborhood to make it the best it can be."

Houses that once stood on this land were torn down in the 1970s to make way for Interstate 40, which was originally planned to go through the neighborhood and Overton Park until protesters stopped the project.

Real estate development firm MaKowsky Ringle and Greenberg said it sent notices to neighbors and had face-to-face visits to let them know about the plan for the multi-family structures.

In a statement, Gary Makowsky said the development will promote a "21st Century Memphis" and it will "enhance the overall history and feel of the community."

"Two-hundred rental units right there is going to overpower this whole neighborhood," Kelly said.

Doherty and Kelly plan to join other neighbors at Shelby County's Land Use Control Board meeting on Thursday to protest the development.

The board could make a decision Thursday on the fate of the project. Then the city council, which will be presented with the petition, must approve it before it can move forward.

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