Mayor Wharton hopes to crack down on abandoned properties - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Wharton hopes to crack down on abandoned properties

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is teaming up with Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong to crack down on blight.

The duo plans to tear down several blighted properties in South Memphis in October.

Now, he wants a registry to crack down on a citywide problem. The ordinance goes to the full city council for a third and final reading Tuesday.

Mayor Wharton is making one final push to get it passed because he says it will help fight blight.

"We like our community. I've been here 43 years. I'm not going anywhere. I love Orange Mound," said Charlesetta Ferguson.

Charlesetta Ferguson and Peggy Taylor have kin living on Pendleton Street near several vacant houses. The yards are littered with tires and weeds.

"These houses are getting bad. We've got people hiding in them, jumping out on you," said Ferguson. "We have to physically get off the sidewalk and into the street when we pass by a dark home like that just to go to the store."

There is an estimated 43,000 blighted properties in the City of Memphis.

"Memphis is a pushover. We're a pushover," said Mayor Wharton. "What we're trying to do is find out who's responsible so that everybody in town, the overall tax base, should not have to pay for it."

Mayor Wharton says his proposed property registry ordinance insures the city's ability to track down owners who need to be held accountable and combats out-of-town owners buying houses with shell corporations but without intent to care for the purchase.

"For those who deliberately speculate in properties like this, there will be another sanction. Right now we have no sanctions. There is no deterrent," Wharton added.

Registry or not, Ferguson and Taylor's distaste for this disrepair may not be fixed anytime soon.

"You know you just never know so we have to really be careful around here," said Ferguson.

Opponents to this ordinance say it does not actually fight blight but instead, merely creates another property registry when there are already three of them that provide readily available ownership information.

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