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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Some Memphis neighbors are concerned about a vacant building after water from the building flooded their street last week.
This happened on Joy Lane near I-240 and Airways during the recent cold snap. Residents told WREG that water was gushing out of the old building on Damascus Road and flooding the backyards of at least two houses.
They said homeless people also lived inside the building, which had been vacant for years.
“When the water came in, they got out and moved into outside buildings,” Zachary Watson said.
In 2012, Sharon Paige, then President and CEO of Damascus Road Residential Center, announced her intention to transform the building near Airways into a home for non-violent juvenile delinquents.
In 2015, the Damascus Road Residential Center asked Memphis City Council for $ 300,000 to use the space as a safe haven for at-risk teens, but that never happened. In fact, the Damascus Road Residential Center Facebook page has not been active since 2011.
Although there was a locked door at the entrance to the barricaded building, parts of a wooden fence along the perimeter fell, allowing anyone to access the building.
On Monday, we saw that several exterior doors had been opened and that there were mattresses, trash and other items all over the exterior of the building.
“I wish they would take it apart or do something with it,” Watson said.
MLGW said when crews showed up at the property on Joy Lane over the weekend they saw the building was flooded and because the front door was locked they were forced to close a valve of street. They couldn’t tell us if the water was coming from a burst pipe.
The City of Memphis has said there are currently no active cases at that location, but after reviewing the photos we have provided to them, it plans to send business inspectors to investigate the Joy Lane property.
“If the business is no longer there, the owner is responsible for ensuring that the structure is set up and secured. If an inspector goes to the site and it is not secure – meaning it is open to occasional entry – then the city will contract someone to ride it and then we will charge the owner for these expenses, ”said Arlenia Cole with the City of Memphis.
We have tried to contact the owner of the building to find out what he plans to do with the property, but so far have not heard from anyone.
“It’s been there for a while. It’s an eyesore, ”Watson said.
Neighbors also believe that the building, in its current state, is not safe for anyone.