Downtown slum vote delayed - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Downtown slum vote delayed

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Downtown Memphis is a mix of million dollar homes, apartments, condos, retail, and public housing.

Housing projects Foote and Cleaborne homes are at the center of the controversy of declaring all of downtown a slum.

The declaration would be needed to get millions in federal funding to revamp the aging housing projects. 

Memphis Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb is pushing the plan.

He was not a meeting where a County-City Board was considering the proposal.

The vote was put off, but dozens came to protest the plan, including U Of M Professor Kenneth Reardon.

Reardon notes that Director Lipscomb has yet to present the plan to residents, local businesses and institutions yet. 

Stakeholders also complain that the plan must declare downtown a slum for 20 years to get federal money, and that $100 million in downtown tax revenue would be borrowed against for development. Development in the area would fall under a "master developer", who would be a czar of sorts over all of downtown development for 20 years.

Also, opponents don't want to see Foote Homes torn down.

Professor Reardon says the residents and neighborhood would rather see the projects repaired.

The plan encompasses all of downtown from the South End to the Pinch, from the river all the way to the Medical District.

The area contains some of the most important African-American landmarks of the Civil Rights era.

 Reardon says the plan would raze important historic landmarks from the Civil Rights era, noting the irony of the plan's name, "Heritage Trail".

A vote on the plan has not been rescheduled at this time.

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