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The original item was published from 1/20/2022 12:28:50 PM to 1/21/2023 12:00:04 AM.

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Community Updates

Posted on: January 20, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Mayor Lee Harris' Update: A Successful Fight Against Blight in Northaven

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For more than a decade, Northaven was plagued by trash from illegal dumping, litter, and blight. After we took office, those residents reached out to us about their perpetual problem. We knew we could find a solution. 

That solution was the Northaven Blight and Trash Removal Program, the first solid waste service program ever administered by Shelby County Government. By all indications, the program has been a success.

From 2014 to 2018, over 74 percent of the complaints to the Mayor’s Action Center from that area were about trash and illegal dumping in Northaven. However, since the trash removal program began on August 1, 2020, those complaints to the center have dropped by 58 percent. Additionally, we've seen property values increase by 11 percent, with some homes now selling for over $100,000.

This is a solution Northaven residents overwhelmingly wanted. A survey was mailed to every Northaven residence. About 78 percent of the respondents were in favor of the new trash service. Our team members were in Northaven for months, meeting with and listening to residents to keep them involved in creating a program custom-made for them. 

Northaven is located in unincorporated North Shelby County between Memphis and the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. It has about 1,000 households.

In the unincorporated areas of Shelby County, residents pay a private company to provide solid waste services. But that wasn't always happening in Northaven. Sometimes, people who didn't hire a trash hauler threw their garbage in the yards of vacant houses, left it on the curb, or discarded it on dead end streets at one of the many illegal dump sites. The tree limbs, yard waste, household garbage, and broken furniture left behind was out of control. It was a persistent and pervasive problem that harmed the environment, lowered property values, and dragged down community morale.

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Before Shelby County began a solid waste program in Northaven, illegal dumping was out of control for at least 10 years.

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The Northaven Blight and Trash Removal Program has left that community with regular solid waste collections and much cleaner streets.

With our new program, Northaven residents pay a fee for solid waste services which is added to their monthly utility bills. A company contracted with Shelby County Government picks up trash every week. Bulk items are collected twice a month. This comes at no cost to taxpayers outside of Northaven.

Additionally, we have kept an eye on Northaven. We’ve worked with the owners of vacant properties to block access to the illegal dump sites and Shelby County employees vigilantly patrol the community and stay in contact with residents.

Meanwhile, leaders with the Northaven Community Association report that the program is working tremendously well, illegal dumping has been drastically reduced, and their neighborhood is cleaner.

This solid waste program has been a long time coming for Northaven residents. We are proud to help give them the community they deserve.


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