TBON: Belt Line - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Joe Birch

TBON: Belt Line

You can find dozens of boarded up homes in Belt Line,  the neighborhood bounded by the fairgrounds, Orange Mound as well as Chickasaw Gardens and the Memphis Country Club.

"We're surrounded by great wealth but it's all intermixed with some extreme poverty," Rev. Bill Marler of Jacob's Ladder said.

Marler runs Jacob's Ladder, an agency that has spent 4 years in Belt Line, re-doing 10 houses and inviting businesses and churches to unite to re-invent this community:

"It's been neglected. It's never had a community center or a park. It's just sort of been passed over," Marley said.

Now Belt Line has a brand new Youth Enrichment Center at Midland Avenue and Boston Street where youngsters are getting tutored after school.

Hester Moore, Belt Line's youth director, said counters will hold computers where children will write their own stories. They will learn about woodworking, theatre, and poetry. An oasis for tapping into the creative minds of children.

Moore hopes the place will give Belt Line children a launching pad for their dreams.

Jacob's Ladder has purchased the empty lot across from the new enrichment center for a community garden.

Neighbor Eunice Frances Hayes raised 10 children in the house that was re-created as the youth center.

She now lives across the street:

Marler said Belt Line should be a player in the fairgrounds re-development, currently being mulled by city government and developer movers and shakers.
     
 


Click here to e-mail Joe Birch.

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