HYPERLOCAL NEWS HUB BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM
Cooper-Young Community Association Working to Get Community Feedback
Story written by Felicia Pisaraz and Alice Hart. Photos contributed by Brett Martin/ MicroMemphis Reporters
March 25, 2012
The 1.058 square mile community known as Cooper-Young has changed drastically over the past few decades, but one thing has not changed since the resurgence of the neighborhood - the alleyways.
The alleyways have served many purposes over the history of the neighborhood. Originally they provided residents access to their garages and also served as a access point for utility workers.
Since then, the alleyways have become a jungle of overgrown weeds and garbage.
“The alleys in Cooper-Young are an eyesore and we are trying to find a better use for them, “ said Kristan Huntley, director of the Cooper-Young Community Association.
Residents and Huntley have tried petitioning the city to help them clean up the alleyways but city officials said it was MLGW’s responsibility. However, MLGW was able to offer very little help due to lack of resources.
MLGW uses a system that allows for clean up in certain zip codes throughout the city. The system is designed to clean up these areas every other year.
“The alleys aren’t just ugly they are becoming hazardous to the residents safety and there are issues of blight occurring,” said Huntley.
Huntley began organizing community clean ups of the alleyways but despite her efforts the result has been less than successful.
“The work is hot, dirty and tiring which makes it hard to get people to volunteer,” said Huntley. There have even been volunteers who have had to go to the hospital because the poison ivy has gotten so bad along the alleyways.
In the Fall of 2011, MircoMemphis reporter, Ashli Blow, learned that Huntley had applied and was awarded a $2,500 grant in from the Strengthening Communities Initiative. However, since receiving the grant little progress has been made toward the goal of paving the alleys and making them accessible.
“We want the residents to have a say in what is done to the alleys,” said Huntley.
For months Huntley has been trying to get residents to participate in a survey but very few have actually taken the survey.
“I have been thinking about offering a chance to win a $50.00 gift certificate for participating in the survey,” said Huntley.
There has been very little motivation to get anything done since it has gotten cold and many of the plants have died.
“ We have put the alleyways kind of on the back burner because the plants aren’t as over grown during the winter,” said Huntley.
The problem is that once the weather gets warmer, the alleys are going to become a mass of weeds and kudzu again.
Residents of Cooper-Young are encouraged to participate in the survey which can be taken online. According to the Lamplighter, residents can also call (901) 272-2922 and request a paper copy of the survey. These surveys will be collected through mid-April.
Click on this image to take the Alleyways Survey!
Cooper Young Association Alleys
Brett Martin/ MicroMemphis reporter
Brett Martin covers Safety for MicroMemphis.
you can send him story ideas here.
Follow Brett on Twitter ( @bsmartin21 )
Felicia Pisarz/ MicroMemphis reporter
Felicia Pisarz covers Safety for MicroMemphis
You can send her story ideas here.
You can follow her on twitter ( @FPisarz)