Breaking News
More () »

Raleigh residents got tired waiting for the city to clean up its street trash, so they did it themselves

After weeks of pleading with City of Memphis leaders on their major trash problem, these Raleigh residents got to work picking up the mess themselves.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Blight is a repeated issue we hear about in our Let’s Talk town halls. For Shelby County District 6, which includes Raleigh, Nutbush and unincorporated Shelby County, fighting blight has become a community-wide effort. Residents have teamed up with community leaders to clean neighborhoods themselves.

“When I was coming up, [Memphis] was the cleanest city in the United States to me,” said George Kearney Jr. "Now I don’t know. It just went down." 

A lifelong Memphian, Kearney wants to see his city come back up. He has lived in Raleigh where he said trash is a big problem.

“People drive by and throw stuff in your yard,” said Kearney. “I’ve lived over here a good 20 years. I’ve seen a sweeper on this street maybe five times. That ain’t right.”

Kearney said he and neighbors used to pick up the trash but that’s changed over the years. “You see how the cars come down and they’re speeding? There’s no sidewalk or nothing. If I get hit, who’s going to take care of me,” asked Kearney.

That is why others are stepping up to help. Shelby County Commissioner Charlie Caswell and Memphis residents spent the weekend cleaning up street in Raleigh, Nutbush and unincorporated Shelby County.

“If we want our community to be good, we can’t wait on government. We can’t wait on others,” said Caswell, Commissioner of District 6.

Many said the wait can take time especially in unincorporated areas of Shelby County such as Millington where instead of being represented by a city council person and a county commissioner, residents are represented by one county commissioner. 

“A lot of times, months go past before we see some of these mattresses and furniture picked up. Many of our stakeholders are telling us they’re calling 311, but they’re not getting the response back to that,” said Caswell.

Their community’s solution is to pick up the trash before it builds up. 

“We know that if we build it, they will come. So, we’re building a movement. We want to make our community a beautiful and awesome district,” said Caswell.

“If the city comes out here and picks up once a month, it will help us a lot,” said Kearney. “We want our neighborhood looking nice. That’s how I feel.”

Commissioner Caswell also said District 6 will be starting a grant and partnership with the organization, Lifeline to Success. That organization has been tackling blight as well. The goal of the partnership is for anytime a resident calls about blight in that district, Lifeline to Success will come out and handle it.

Before You Leave, Check This Out