MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A former flea market that used to be a hotbed for crime is getting a makeover.
The site has been a major eyesore in southwest Memphis since it closed. But on Wednesday, July 11, front loaders finally hauled scrap away.
The message was loud and clear: if counterfeit goods are sold on your property, you could lose it.
Such was the case at the Southwest Flea Market on Third and Raines when police and deputies raided it last year. Federal agents detained and questioned more than a 100 people. Since then, it sat vacant.
“Every time I passed by it was very disturbing because we live in this community and when they came in and busted the people down, everybody was really upset because the way it was left, it wasn't taken care of,” said Peggy Robinson.
That's no longer the case. As part of a guilty plea, the property owner gave up all rights to the land. That will allow for big changes and neighbors say it's long overdue.
“Crime was so high during the time when this flea market was here, but we had no idea what was really going on here,” Larry Dockery said.
“We didn't realize it was meth lab on this lot,” Robinson said.
The lot is now owned by the Federal Government.
“It will be auctioned off in a public auction format and anybody and everybody can come bid on this property,” said Mark Wheelus of URS Federal Services.
It's already zoned for commercial use. The plan is to put another business here, this time a legit one.
URS Federal Services will manage the property plans to have it cleaned up and sold by January.