MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - They don’t make downtown parks like Court Square in downtown Memphis anymore. It’s a small patch of green that sits smack in the middle of all the bricks and mortar and concrete of the city.
“Court Square is critically important,” says Paul Morris of the Downtown Memphis Commission. “It’s the living room of downtown. That’s why we spent so much money revitalizing Court Square. Millions of dollars were spent rehabilitating the park and refurbishing it, making it cleaner.”
They’ve done a great job. The rats just loved it. We found them late in August. “I’ve personally never seen a rat in Court Square,” Paul Morris says. “I walk through there about every day and I’ve never seen a rat. I have heard people say they’ve seen rats in Memphis, generally.”
Not Memphis generally… Court Square to be exact. Deondre Ragsdale is there every day. ”They’d come out,” he says, “…and they’d stand right in front of you. They would even probably run right over your foot if you let them get that close.” Anisah Karim has seen them, and just the thought of those rodents makes her skin crawl. “I can’t stand rats,” she says.
We found plenty of rats near the end of August. The Shelby County Health Department was called in to put out traps. “We heard a report of a rat,” Morris says. “We didn’t want to wait for the problem to become a big problem, so we put out traps. And they’re taking other efforts to put poison in their nesting areas around the city, especially downtown and center city.”
What has happened since our story has been sort of a modern day Pied Piper saga. It seems, according to folks, that we now ratless in Court Square. “The city has come around and put out a trap down there,” says Court Square regular Tim Webster. “What I’ve been doing is sweeping up the dead rats. So what you did when you came down here that time was great. It was a very, very good blessing.”
That is for everybody except the rats.