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Improving our city one community at a time

In an effort to maintain or increase the value of the property, the community around it also needs to be maintained. 
 Carlee McCullough

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

 – Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Once you purchase any real estate, whether it is your primary residence or an investment property, it is imperative that it be maintained properly.  In an effort to maintain or increase the value of the property, the community around it also needs to be maintained.  If we all come together, we can improve our city one community at a time.

According to www.thefree dictionary.com, blight is defined as something that impairs growth, withers hopes and ambitions, or impedes progress and prosperity. Nothing affects a neighborhood’s overall progress and prosperity like vacant dormant properties.  But with a little investment, a neighborhood can be turned around.  Think about investing in your own neighborhood.

During 2010, in an effort to remedy some of the blight, the City of Memphis initiated approximately 140 lawsuits, filed under the Neighborhood Preservation Act, against owners of neglected and rundown properties in Memphis. But as we have always said, remedying blight is not solely the responsibility of government. It is a problem for all of us and an opportunity for some of us. Take the time to research those properties in your community that appear to be run down or abandoned. This may be an opportunity to purchase the property, rehabilitate it, produce an income generating investment and improve the community.

In addition to the physical improvement of the community, by becoming more active in the community we can address some less tangible problems with our community.

Become a part of the community

Become a part of the community by getting to know neighbors and getting involved in town hall meetings and community votes.  Let your voice be heard with a vote and your presence.

If you aren’t registered to vote, it is not too late. Call the Shelby County Election Commission at 545-4123 or 545-3836. Watch your community carefully and hold your representatives accountable.

Join Neighborhood Watch

 If your community doesn’t have one, take the initiative and start one.  This will improve your community by making it safer for you, your loved ones, and your neighbors.  

Recently, overall crime has been documented as down from prior years. Let’s help keep it down by watching over our own communities.

Clean up the community

Once a month, get the community together to pick up litter and trash in your community. Once the pride is reestablished in the community by everyone taking part, there will eventually be less to pick up because there will be less put down.

Make social activities part of your community

Block parties, ball games, cookouts, barbecues, and festivals are all great ways to get to know your neighbors.  Memphians are known as friendly and pleasant.  So why not continue the reputation in our own communities?

Create a community park or garden

Many densely populated cities are moving toward creating community gardens and parks. Vacant lots can be purchased and converted to a garden or park. This is a great way to beautify the neighborhood.

Create after-school activities for the kids

Homework tutoring programs will ultimately help raise the test scores of the community’s children. By improving the test scores of the children in your community this will help improve the overall image and ratings of your schools in your community, and as a result increase your property value.

Volunteer your time

If you have special skills that can enhance your community, volunteer them.  Coach the community team, tutor the kids, maintain the community garden or park, cook for the block party, paint the fences in the community, or offer to mow the neighbor’s lawn if you see it overgrown.

Check on the elderly

The elderly in our community try to maintain their independence as long as possible. Check on them and see if they need anything. A simple run to the store or preparing a plate will go along way for someone trying to live independently as well as add to a cohesive community.

It is hard to place a dollar amount on the efforts listed above, but rest assured, these steps will improve our neighborhoods and add value to our property investments. We can enrich our city, one community at a time.

(Please send your questions to Carlee McCullough, Esq., Contract Compliance Officer, City of Memphis-Office of Contract Compliance, 125 N. Main St., Suite 546, Memphis, TN 38103 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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