North Memphis residents hope federal investigation brings change to MLGW expansion plans

Local I-Team

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – North Memphis residents who live near Hollywood and Chelsea hope a federal investigation will save their neighborhood. 

MLGW plans to expand its north service center and is buying up homes and empty lots. People who don’t want to leave filed complaints with the federal department of Housing and Urban Development, known as HUD, two years ago, claiming the predominately black neighborhood is being discriminated against.

One of the residents told the Local I-Team investigators from HUD were here this week, interviewing her and others about the MLGW expansion.

“I’m not planning on letting them have my house,” said Carrie Woodley.

Woodley has lived in her house across from the MLGW center her entire life. Over the past several years, she has seen MLGW buy up land and tear down blocks of homes. With fewer homes remaining, Woodley and her sister wonder what the future holds.

“I can’t understand they getting land cheap. They getting it for nothing. And the people that’s been here a long time like I have and my sister next door, we don’t want to move,” said Ida Jordan.

“I just think MLGW needs to be more sensitive to what they are doing and how they are doing it,” said Jim Kovarik.

Kovarik lives a few miles from the site and tried to help residents navigate the situation. He says MLGW likely had other options.

“There are huge swaths of empty land to east north and south of the existing facility. What did they do? They moved west, right into the neighborhood,” said Kovarik.

It’s unknown how a federal investigation could affect MLGW’s expansion plans. An MLGW spokesperson said because this is an ongoing legal matter, they could not comment.

“This is an all-black neighborhood too and we are very low-income people. We can’t afford to move anywhere else,” said Jordan.

The Local I-Team called HUD  to get an update, but no one was available to give me us information. We were told we probably would get an update Monday.

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