Saturday, August 3, 2013

Memphis Public Housing: A Rotting Tree In The Foote Homes

There are a number of dangerous trees rotting and falling apart on the property of Foote Homes Public Housing. And recently, one of these trees nearly fell over on two apartment units located at 632 and 634 Mississippi Boulevard. One resident has been catching this entire tree rotting action on video camera and also taking pictures whenever limbs have fallen from the tree in front of their own apartment at 632, apartment 109. This time, the resident was sitting near their window drinking morning coffee and watching several squirrels play in this tree. That is when the resident heard a loud crack and saw all those squirrels jump for their lives. Then right before the resident’s eyes, the tree began to split in half. Only a few strips of wood and bark were holding this tree together. The resident called the housing office’s emergency service number to have them send out someone to the apartment; because this time, the whole tree was going to fall onto the apartments any second. Then out the door this resident ran to warn all of the other residents of the danger. No one would budge to move out of their doors because this threat of the falling tree had happed to many times before for them to believe it. Public housing officials began showing up. And at first, public housing officials said that they might come back in a two days to take care of this whole problem. But finally, after all these years, housing officials realized that this tree was going to keep splitting and falling apart. They, too, were going to have to ask the residents to leave their apartments to go somewhere safer while housing officials blocked off the area. Then, public housing officials called Bean and Prince Contractor's, Inc. to rescue the apartments and the residents from an uncertain fate. It took Bean and Prince hardly any time to get out to the scene and start to work on this tree. The crew who were working on this massive tree took only three days to bring the entire tree down under emergency conditions. The crew was under immeasurable danger and pressure to perform the task without anyone getting hurt. The crew was truly brave, impressive, and professional to say the least, especially while having to work extremely fast and extremely careful. Within the first few hours most of the danger to the buildings was over with, as the weight of the tree was cut away one limb at the time. By late that afternoon, only the split trunk of this tree remained in the ground. In fact, residents were already allowed to return to his or her apartment. That is when the resident who witnessed this whole ordeal from the beginning realized the significance of this massive old shade tree and began to shoot some more video footage to preserve at least one last memory before the trunk was shredded into nothingness. Moreover, this same fate may happen to every neighborhood that is located in zip code 38126, including the Foote Homes; and all of which is touted as the poorest zip code in the Mid-South Region. That old rotting tree, perhaps hundreds of years old, is the source of many memories that represent the good, the bad, and the ugly; mostly the ugly. To illustrate, there has been nothing but stress, strife, and struggle in the zip code 28126, far more failures than successes: the failure of Memphis City Schools; lack of transportation due to cut backs at Memphis Area Transit Authority; the ongoing low wage jobs with few of no benefits; the part time jobs; the temporary jobs; the long-term unemployment; the food desserts; and all of the criminal activity caused by people who are only seeking to do the wrong thing simply because they seem to know nothing else to do. Yes - the end of this old tree represents sadness and sorrow, but it also represents a positive social change; perhaps a complete redesign of this whole entire community and the city becoming more car-free friendly, whereby the whole community can meet all of their essential needs within ten minutes of almost anyone's location. Now a city like this will relieve stress, strife, and struggle and it will bring every community together like never before. 

Foote Homes Public Housing

Photos Taken Summer of 2013

Photo's Taken Summer 2009

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