MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the effort to save Orange Mound.
By any definition, Orange Mound is a historic and proud neighborhood. It was created back in 1890 as the nation’s first planned community built by and for African Americans. And 100 years ago, it officially became part of Memphis.
But on Thursday, Shelby County Property Assessor Melvin Burgess delivered some sobering news about Orange Mound. Property values there have dropped some 26% and the community, located virtually in the middle of the city, is full of vacant and blighted properties – many of which are owned by local government.
Burgess should be commended for bringing his issue to the public’s attention. And his recommendation that a task force should be formed to address the problem is a good one. People from both inside and outside of Orange Mound should be called on to help develop a plan to reverse this troubling trend. But others must get involved as well.
With just two weeks remaining before the city election, the candidates for mayor and city council, particularly those seeking to represent the Orange Mound community, must address what they plan to do to help. We also need to hear from the Greater Memphis Chamber and others in the business community.
Of course, other city neighborhoods are also starving for economic attention. But Burgess went public about Orange Mound for a reason. It has a history worth celebrating, and is a community worth saving. And that’s my point of view.