• Mayor Lee Harris wants SCS to transfer ownership of boarded-up Memphis school to Shelby County

    By: Jeremy Pierre


    Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris wants to help reduce the problem of blight in South Memphis.

    Harris sent a letter asking the Shelby County School System to transfer ownership of a boarded-up school to the county government.

    This building once served as one the largest middle schools in the city of Memphis.

    FOX13 confirmed that Harris is interested in Shelby County gaining ownership of the Vance Middle School building.

    Harris said this is his plan to clean up blight and allow the school system to dedicate more resources to buildings that are still being used by students.

    Vance Middle is in Shelby County Commissioner Mickell Lowery’s district.

    "We can be creative in what we have in that space,” Lowery said.

    The mayor’s office told FOX13 in a statement that redeveloping the property will be a huge move due to other surrounding areas near the building preparing for a resurgence.

    "It's a good idea to have these conversations. Obviously can't speak for the school board. I commend the mayor for reaching out and having a plan to do something about these vacant schools,” Lowery said.

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    Lowery said he hopes a plan for the building comes sooner than later.

    "I don't have one or two particular things that need to be there. I just want to see it viable again and see people work in that community,” Lowery said.

    FOX13 reached out to Shelby County Schools this evening to learn if they had received Harris’ letter as well as to learn if they have any plans for the building.

    We haven’t heard back from them.

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