Illegal dumping site next to church has Parkway Village seeking solutions

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Car seats, bumpers, couches and more can all be found in the empty lot next to a church in Parkway Village.

According to neighbors, the property has been a hotspot for illegal dumping for more than two years.

Oakville Missionary Baptist Church recently bought the lot from the Shelby County Land Bank, which auctions off abandoned properties, but the church won’t take ownership until October.

“I’ve never seen a pile up like this in the history that I’ve been in Memphis,” community activist Patricia Rogers said. “This is really unacceptable and it is ridiculous.”

Rogers said she believes the property’s previous owner should be arrested. Documents from Shelby County identify the owner as Memphis Gateway, LLC, which the Tennessee Secretary of State lists as inactive as of 2020.

“I don’t just blame the property owner, I blame the environmental court judge for allowing the property owner to carry on with stuff like this in our community,” she said.

FOX13 observed three pianos, dozens of car bumpers, a Mountain Dew ice chest, a Commercial Appeal newspaper dispenser and countless piles of tires.

“Mattresses, you’ve got any kind of solid waste. It extends from this area all the way down,” Roger said. “The cleanup of all these tires could go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Tire tracks crisscross the property where cars and trucks have pushed down the grass on their way to dump garbage.

“I think cameras need to be put up in this area and if they are caught, they need to go to jail,” Rogers said. “They definitely need to be fined.”

Rogers said she has been reaching out to officials about getting the trash removed but has not yet had luck. She hopes putting the problem on air will inspire action.

“I really appreciate FOX13 contacting me to get this message out so the city officials can see what’s going on and the environmental judge can see what’s going on,” she said. “They’re going to be stunned.”

FOX13 reached out to the city to see whether the old owner, new owner, city or county is responsible for removing the trash and was told more time was needed to look into it.