Mayor improves neighborhoods one house at a time

Mayor Willie Herenton wants to clean-up Memphis neighborhoods by tearing down abandoned homes.

The Mayor started with the blighted neighborhood in the 1600 block of Pennsylvania.

It's abandoned buildings the mayor says that cause morale to fall in downtown and uptown neighborhoods.

He says they need to go and this is where we start.

As one apartment complex came down, Mayor Willie Herenton was surrounded by students from Carver High School.

He said he wants those who live in inner city neighborhoods to have a new sense of hope.

"It certainly doesn't the moral of people to live in neighborhood deterioration it's very depressing," said Herenton.

There are a lot of abandoned homes and apartment complexes spread throughout the downtown area.

"It's symbolic of a lot of empty structures throughout the city because as part of the migration going out we're leaving empty buildings," said Robert Lipscomb with Memphis Housing Development.

Often when one building empties out another follows then another and another. Then police say the crime follows.

"Somebody is going to get killed up in there. They do everything up in there. Kids won't go to school, they hang back there," said one neighbor.

In addition to the buildings, the mayor wants abandoned vehicles and other trash removed, street by street.

Demolition will continue for several weeks and it'll be months before new buildings start popping up.

The mayor plans ask the city council to appropriate as much as five million dollars next year for neighborhood clean-ups.


to email George Brown.