North Memphis neighborhood files lawsuit against blighted properties

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 7:22 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A North Memphis neighborhood is taking a stand against blight, filing 25 lawsuits against vacant and abandoned properties.

Quincy Morris said she remembers when Jackson Avenue, which runs through Klondike and Smokey City, was a bustling hub.

She says there were pharmacies, grocers- anything and everything you could want or need. Back then, it also felt safe.

“When I was growing up in this community you could walk home safely from what was then Klondike School,” said Quincy Morris. Today, Morris feels these North Memphis neighborhoods have gone south. Dilapidated businesses and blight have taken over and with that a decline in the quality of life for long-term residents,” said Morris

That’s why The University of Memphis School of Law’s Neighborhood Preservation Clinic is filing 25 lawsuits on behalf of the Klondike-Smokey City Community Development Corporation. It’s all in an effort to bring back the golden age of this once-vibrant community.

“Those lawsuits are aimed at holding the owners of those properties that are vacant, abandoned, badly neglected accountable,” said Danny Schaffzin, U of M Neighborhood Preservation Clinic Co-Director.

Schaffzin said everyone has a right to property, but a right to blight—not so much.

“We’re putting them on notice that there is now an expectation, in fact, it is a requirement that they keep properties in a condition that is consistent with proper code,” said Schaffzin.

Something Morris hopes will instill a love for her home in a new generation.

“My parents instilled in me to be proud of the neighborhood you live in. And I’m proud of Klondike and Smokey City,” said Morris.

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