Filipino cultural center gets go ahead in Bartlett - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Filipino cultural center gets go ahead in Bartlett

A Filipino organization looking to build a cultural center in Bartlett is catching flack from some neighbors.

Some people who live in Bartlett say they want to keep their neighborhood residential, but members of the Filipino-American Association of Metropolitan Memphis want to fulfill a dream that began during a prayer group back in 1977.

Dr. Ed Cabigao says his organization wants to buy 13 acres of property off Yale Road to build a cultural center for group functions, but that is not going over well with neighbors. "It came across to the Filipino community that the reason why this process really did not favor us is because of racial prejudice," he explained.

"It's nothing against the Filipinos of any nature. It's just the fact that it's residentially zoned property," said neighbor Judy Presley. "The concerns still is the lighting, the noise, the closeness of how close it's gonna be built right here on top of us."

Presley and other neighbors from the Cherry Valley and Bartlett Grove subdivisions gathered 188 signatures against the center with concerns it would lower their property value. Still, the City of Bartlett approved a special use permit for the center, but with stipulations.

The city would require that the organization donate four acres of land to Bartlett and build two 150-foot greenbelts on each side of a creek on site. Mayor McDonald said that is a requirement any owner of the land would have to meet, but the Filipino community feels some of the stipulations are just too strict. "I think that's unfair. Basically we'll just be able to use about 7 acres of the land that we have bought," said Dr. Cabigao.

The group would also be prohibited from building a road to connect the center to La Casa Drive, they would not be permitted to operate the center outside of the hours of 7a.m. - 11p.m., alcoholic sales would not be allowed.

While the mayor believes the city has done its best for the community as a whole, the Filipino community will meet this weekend to decide whether or not to move forward with plans to open the cultural center at that location. They say they will most likely start looking for land outside of Bartlett.

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