To date, the school has purchased some of the duplexes but owners of several properties, including an apartment complex, are so far refusing to sell to Crichton or are asking impossibly high prices. Lloyd declined to comment on the acquisition plans progress.
This isnt the first time that neighborhood residents have had their hopes dashed that the area known as Eastview could be revitalized. From 2003 to 2006, Robert Lipscomb, the citys director of housing and community development, and his staff gave numerous pep talks complete with charts, graphs, and timelines to neighborhood groups promising that change, however slow, would come.
Somethings going to happen soon; it cant go on as its been, Lipscomb told Memphis magazine in a September 2003 article. You cant beat the location. Its got good shopping at Poplar Plaza and Chickasaw Oaks, its got not one but two golf courses, the best library in the whole country, and a variety of good housing . . .You couldnt ask for a better neighborhood except for the blight. The City Council even approved funds to buy the slum properties, and Lipscomb said the city would use eminent domain as a legal device to acquire the properties if owners refused to sell.
Last summer, after an eminent domain case was settled in favor of a Northeastern city, backlash against the decision was so strong that Lipscomb and other leaders dropped plans for Eastview. All without a word to neighborhood associations who had patiently waited for change.
Says Lipscomb: When we lost the ability to [execute] eminent domain, we could not do anything, due to the price the landlords wanted for the properties. [Were] working with Crichton to develop the area.