West Memphis Task Force formed to tackle blight in the community

West Memphis Task Force formed to tackle blight in the community

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - There’s potential for growth along Broadway Avenue in West Memphis. That’s Mayor Marco McClendon’s thought, which is why he’s formed a task force to help that idea come to life.

"Every year we get community development/blight grant money and within those funds we have certain layers of demo that funds have to go towards demolition projects within our city that meets those requirements in blighted areas," said Mayor McClendon.

McClendon says he's serious about using the $170,000 or so to fight blight. The task force is made up of city council members and a planning development director.

"There are some homes within certain areas that the council people have concerns and once we identify who owns them and make sure we have a clear title we look forward to tearing those properties down as well," said McClendon.

One of McClendon's top priorities is Oak Terrace Apartments. Back in September police arrested a man at the complex after they say he was holding people hostage.

McClendon says the owner of the property has agreed to tear it down. The demolishing could start in the next 30 days.

“The individuals that’s living in those apartment complexes, he has several other apartment complexes that’s he’s going to relocate them to,” said McClendon.

Residents are open to the idea saying demolishing blighted properties could make way for growth.

"For the people that want to make their own businesses can make their own businesses on that spot," said West Memphis resident Aaron Brown.

Since taking office, Mayor McClendon has been behind a number of projects, including new fire stations, a library and loft apartments.

"We're looking forward to how we can be aggressive in making West Memphis a better city," said McClendon.

On Monday, the task force will begin discussing what properties they’d like to tackle.

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