Plans to build crematorium in Orange Mound have residents outraged

Updated: Nov. 21, 2019 at 10:39 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A development planned in Orange Mound is usually good news, but residents are not happy about what could become their new neighbor.

Letters have gone out informing residents of a request to build a crematorium near the corner of Park Avenue and Marechalneil Street.

“Why would you want the smell of bodies burning in your neighborhood,” said Bretta Calhoun, who lives just a few homes down from the proposed crematorium.

It’s unclear if the neighbors will actually smell what’s going on inside, but neighbors say it’s pretty disturbing.

WMC Action News 5 spoke to the property owner, Anastasia Davis, who is planning to build the crematory. She says she has owned a piece of property in Orange Mound for years.

She's a funeral director and thinks a crematory will be a great way to help revitalize a community. There is a renewed effort to raise property values in the historic community.

“I understand wanting to lift the tax base and have paying businesses in this place, but don’t prop it in our neighborhood where we live,” says Calhoun

A special use permit was filed Tuesday to build a 1,350-square-foot metal building used for cremating bodies.

“That's senseless and I'm outraged,” said Calhoun.

Davis wrote in the application that the business would improve the character of the neighborhood.

Milton Gooden’s family has been business owners on the block for 40 years.

Gooden’s barber shop is continuing the tradition and he’s proud to call Orange Mound home since he was five years old.

He says a crematorium in the heart of Orange Mound is not his idea of revitalizing the area.

“This area, we’re trying to invest in it and we’re trying to come up,” said Gooden. “You would want something appealing to look at upon approaching the area, as well as leaving the area.”

A public hearing will take place Monday December 2nd and Mt. Gilliam Baptist Church from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. Residents can ask questions there.

The special use permit will be scheduled to go before the Land Use Control Board Dec. 12.

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