Memphis Tells Residents: If You Mow It You Can Own It

Residents who put in the effort of maintaining vacant property will have their hard work rewarded and will be offered the opportunity to purchase the property.

2 minute read

November 7, 2015, 1:00 PM PST

By jwilliams @jwillia22

Empty Lot

Sameer-123 / Wikimedia Commons

Memphis residents who have been mowing the empty lot next door will have the opportunity to turn their efforts into cash that can be applied to the purchase of the vacant land. "Many residents in Tennessee largest city have been mowing neighboring parcels for years, but an ordinance approved Oct. 20 on first reading by City Council credits mowers $25 [per] cut for three years." Dave Nyczepir of Route Fifty reports that the program will apply to properties in Shelby County and the city of Memphis valued between $500 and $10,000.

The maximum amount residents can earn for three years of mowing is $1,350, which can then be applied to the purchase of the property. Any difference in the value of the property and the $1,350 would need to be made up by the buyer, in addition to a $175 administrative fee.

Linda Moore of The Commercial Appeal reports that there are over 3,500 vacant properties in the county, with 97 percent of them in the city of Memphis. "An eligible property owned by the county would be gifted to the city for the program. The city will then deed the property to the participant when the maintenance agreement is fulfilled."

Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd sees the program as an opportunity to "create and put pride back in some of these neighborhoods," while reducing maintenance costs for the city and returning previous nontaxable properties back to the tax rolls of the city and county.

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