Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Motels near troubled neighborhood - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Joe Birch

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Motels near troubled neighborhood

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We've made many visits to Lester Street since the killing spree that left a half dozen people dead nearly two months ago.

But the seeds for another brand of trouble were planted on Lester years ago.  In fact, there's another side of Lester Street just a stone's throw from the site of the massacre:  Three motels - the Rickey, the Key and the Pleasure Inn - sit on Lester, tucked away off the beaten path of Summer Avenue:    

The Pleasure Inn backs up to Loretta's Kizer's home, on a residential block of Faxon Avenue:

"If they are running a legitimate business, shouldn't their front door be facing the business area of Summer, and not a residential street like Lester or Faxon?" she asked.

Michael Conwell's family business, Tire Doctor, sits next to the Ricky Motel.

"All the time, you have people selling drugs out of that hotel," he said. "You have prostitutes coming out of that hotel. You have mysterious people coming out of the hotel. We can't tell what's going on around here."

Conwell says the Rickey offers hourly rates. Neighbors say the Key and Pleasure Inn are also in the business of offering hourly hotbeds for hookers.

 "We know what kind of pleasure they're in business for," Kizer said.

According to Kizer, the hotels sit in stark contrast to the lives the people surrounding them are trying to live.

"Mostly in our neighborhood we have a whole lot of elderly people and couples with kids," she said. "So most of the people, they're tired of seeing stuff like that."

Neighbors living near the motels tell tales of hooker-on-hooker street-fights over customers and also johns abducting women walking the street. So why isn't someone fighting this and Taking Back This Neighborhood?

"'Cause most of our neighbors around here are so scared of what people would do to them if they was to go tell, that they just stay in their houses and let it happen," Kizer said.

Conwell says the early March massacre and activities at the motels have flattened his family's tire business:

"It's very hard on our business right now, and I would like to see a change on Lester Street, because the way it's going, it doesn't seem like it's going to get no better," he said.

People living near 722 Lester say its a constant reminder of the grisly murders. The motels are one tenth of a mile from the infamous address. In mostly silent desperation, people here wish someone would help take back this neighborhood.


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