(WMC-TV) - A game-changing solution to blight is creating a new push for organizations to buy abandoned homes in Memphis.
Jim Strickland unveiled his plans, which were six months in the making, during an executive session Tuesday at a city council meeting. The plan could be one more step toward reducing blight in Memphis.
Tara Turner lives next door to 3238 University Street, which is a property that has been abandoned for years.
"It's scary because there be people sitting up in there, laying up in there, and it's dangerous for young women like me," said Turner.
She says the home draws unwanted critters and crime.
"It don't even look good on the street," said Turner.
She is not alone.
"There's so much blight in our community, thousands and thousands of properties," said Stickland.
He says many properties have more property tax debt than what they are worth.
"No one's gonna buy that piece of property," he said.
And the abandoned properties usually about for four to five years before anyone takes over. Strickland's plan could improve the problem now that a new Tennessee law opened up grant money for potential redevelopers.
"If you can get the owner to donate it to a community redevelopment organization, we will give them a grant," he said.
Meaning the buyer will basically break even if they follow several conditions including rehabbing the house, occupying it within a year of the sale, and keeping it occupied for five years.
"We have to stop accepting the way things are start doings differently," he said.
Strickland says the council will discuss his plan in committee in two weeks, then they will vote. If the proposal passes it will go to county commission, but the state attorney has the final say.
If it passes they will limit the program to 100 homes for the first year.
Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
730 North Summit Street