Board-up block party at the Klondike Smokey City neighborhood

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 11:49 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis organizations are working together to clean up local neighborhoods.

“When people can live in a nice environment it definitely does something to the mental state of mind,” said Reginald Randolph, Blight Director Klondike Smokey City CDC.

It’s just one reason organizers from the Klondike Smokey City CDC and The Works are cleaning up the neighborhood.

It’s one of the oldest African American communities in Memphis, and it’s also where the original home of Tom Lee sits.

“Most people know of Tom Lee park but they don’t make association of Tom Lee as a person, this is the actual home that Tom Lee lived in so the Klondike Smokey City CDC was fortunate to acquire this property,” said Environmental Coordinator Dr. Eziza Ogbeiwi-Risher. We have taken it upon ourselves to preserve it, with the intent of turning it into a museum.”

Organizers decorated the Tom Lee home for the holidays and celebrated the work they’ve done so far.

“We want the community to feel like somebody cares and that somebody is ourselves,” said Dr.Ogbeiwi-Risher.

Dr.Ogbeiwi-Risher, the CDC’s environmental coordinator says they’re also encouraging neighbors to participate in their adopt a curb program, which keeps people accountable for their curbs in an effort to beautify the neighborhood.

“It uplifts the people [and] it makes the people feel like they belong to something good and something positive,” she said.

“Why not beautify Memphis we need that,” said Carlton Ratliff.

Reginald Randolph oversees 300 lots in the Klondike area. He says they work five days a week maintaining those lots.

Randolph says they hope to change the culture of the community they serve.

“If people can live in a clean and nice environment then people will appreciate it and I believe at some points,  catch on and to what it is we’re trying to do and adapt and be a part of what we’re doing,” said Randolph. We definitely want community participation in all that we do.”

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