In an e-mail sent to members of a committee resisting the street closing, activist Gwen Lausterer said that those pushing for the closing "will withdraw their request for a wall [at Southern] if we will back them for speed bumps and a sidewalk." The e-mail included the statement that the LUCB staff has "already submitted its Report to the Board recommending that the application be REJECTED."
The Midland Goodwyn Neighborhood Association, which is close to Chickasaw Gardens but has a separate association, has been trying for years to close the street in order to control speed and traffic. Residents are sharply divided over the issue, with opponents saying the measure is all about race and class and that the closure is to keep residents of the poorer neighborhood south of Southern from being able to enter the exclusive Chickasaw Gardens area.
However, in an e-mail to the Flyer, Will Deupree, president of the Midland Goodwyn Neighorhood Association, explained, "Our design left open a walkway for all pedestrian foot traffic, bike riders, and families who want to use Goodwyn. We were only closing it to cars. We do not want a gated community. We want the street open at Central and on Midland so all neighbors and Memphians can access the street."
Deupree also emphasized that the street closing is "not about crime" or, specifically, the rape that occurred on Goodwyn last May. "Having a gate would not have prevented this crime by any stretch of the imagination nor will it protect the residents of our street from crimes in the future ... "
For more information, contact Gwen Lausterer at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com