South Junction residents voice concerns over flood repair money

South Junction residents voice concerns over flood repair money

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For eight years, parts of a South Memphis neighborhood have sat unfixed following a devastating flood in 2011. A group of South Junction neighbors are concerned those parts will never be fixed the way they want them to be even with federal funding going toward flood mitigation.

Since Shelby County was awarded a National Disaster Resilience Grant for $60 million in 2016, residents in the South Junction Neighborhood have voiced their opinions on how they’d like to see the money spent. As more is released on how that money will be used, those residents are concerned their demands aren’t being heard.

“We're frustrated,” South Junction resident Desma Turner said. “We've been saying this is what we want, this is what we need, but we're getting nowhere.”

For many in the South Junction Neighborhood not a day goes by that they don't think about the 2011 flood that devastated the community.

“A lot of [flood victims] are living with mold and mildew contamination in their home,” Turner said. “A lot of them have lost their home.”

High waters in the South Cypress Creek caused the flooding, and it’s one of three areas a $60 million grant will work to fix. Shelby County was awarded a HUD National Disaster Resilience Grant in 2016, and the county decided to put the money toward three projects -- the South Cypress Creek Watershed, the Wolf River Wetland Restoration and the Big Creek Wetland Restoration.

South Cypress is getting nearly $9 million from the grant, while Wolf River and Big Creek are getting 1$8.5 million and $29 million respectively. People in South Junction are more concerned with what the money is going toward or not going toward.

The county has announced when it comes to flood mitigation the money will go toward things like storm water improvements and buyouts. Residents said they don’t want to be bought out, they want their homes fixed.

“We think that’s unfair because a lot of people back in the flood are retired and live on fix income so what should they do? Continue to live the way they’ve been living for seven years,” Turner said.

Turner has organized meetings and rallies to discuss the resilience plan with neighbors. She's also disappointed there is no plan for a levee.

“This neighborhood has been flooding for 100 years, so why not fix it,” Turner said.

The Shelby County Director of the Division of Planning and Development John Zeanah has previously told WMC the plan is focused on giving the community a full recovery. He said the plan reduces the threat of flooding long term.

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