MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One broken down building at a time, University of Memphis students are tackling blight.
Thursday, a group of law students turned in 24 lawsuits against property owners, putting the number of blight suits filed since 2010 at over 1,000.
University of Memphis law student Luke Sanderson said they were on a mission.
He was responsible for handling a lawsuit against the owner of a boarded up home in the 1900 block of Southern.
“It’s a legal clinic that we’re involved in through the law school and we’re filing these lawsuits to do something about these blighted properties around town,” he explained.
Sanderson was one in a group of students who turned in blight lawsuits Thursday, filing them with Mayor A C Wharton at their side.
Wharton said he is pleased to see the students taking ownership in their own community.
“This is more than just a lawsuit,” said Wharton. “This is an expression of values, that they share the values, the value of having beautiful communities.”
“I did my undergrad work in Memphis, and I just kind of want to clean up the city,” Sanderson added.
While many complain about blight, Sanderson said that is not enough.
He said we have to take action, and he is proud to be doing just that.
“People do complain about it, but nobody wants to step up and do something about this,” he said. “It’s going to take a community wide effort to get up and do something about these properties or it’s just going to keep worsening the situation.”
Those property owners will now have to appear before a judge and answer for the conditions of their properties.
Each law student will personally handle the cases they filed Thursday.
Of the over 1,000 lawsuits filed since 2010, 550 buildings have been either demolished or cleaned up.