Community associations work together on two tough issues

By Linda Williams
Glenview/Edgewood and Rozelle-Annesdale Area Associations are impacting our community in a positive way. On Tuesday, August 31, the regular Glenview/Edgewood meeting united both associations to work on two common problems: vicious dogs loose in our neighborhoods and urban blight. Matthew Pepper, new head of the Animal Control Center, came to address the issue of vicious dogs. He has placed animal control officers in this area near the school and parks where dogs have been found roaming loose. We have seen good results from this effort in the short time that he has been on the job, and we applaud his responsiveness. Mr. Pepper discussed the challenges they face in combating the increasing number of calls about animals running loose with the limited number of animal control officers available. However, good news was shared that a new shelter is near completion, which will relieve the overcrowding in the existing shelter. Nevertheless, the main focus needs to be on increasing spaying and neutering to control the population and on educating the public on how to be responsible pet owners. We distributed the proposed spaying and neutering ordinance to every member present. This ordinance is sponsored by City Council member Shea Flinn and is coming to a vote soon.
The second presenter was Brad Watkins of the Peace and Justice Center who has gathered a tremendous amount of data on urban blight. The facts that astounded the crowd were that Memphis has 6000-7000 unsecured vacant houses, over 13000 vacant lots, and over 3000 properties owned by Shelby County due to abandonment or delinquent taxes. We learned that it costs only $600 to board up an abandoned house, while it costs $17500 to fight a fire. There were 240 fires in vacant buildings in 2007, 218 in 2008, and 182 in 2009. Why the decrease in 2009? In 2008 Memphis Community Enhancement began boarding up vacant properties. We discussed what we could do to combat urban blight and planned meetings with other associations where blight is a major concern.
What an awesome, productive hour we shared, and we left the meeting with a plan for action for our associations. Kudos to Glenview/Edgewood Manor Area Association President, Eartha Reaves, for her leadership in this area. We are looking forward to working together with all associations to find solutions for these issues. Join us in being involved, informed, and invested in our communities.
Linda Williams is President of Rozelle-Annesdale Area Association.

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