MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Tear it down. That's what one state representative says should happen to the Raleigh Springs Mall if its owner can't turn around the dying shopping center.
This comes after code enforcement told mall management a dozen RV's parked on the property had to leave.
"The Raleigh Springs Mall was at one point the largest anchor for the district of all of North Memphis and it's obviously fallen into a huge state of disrepair," said State Representative Antonio Parkinson.
That's a state the owner doesn't appear to be helping. The company that owns Raleigh Springs Mall did not keep up with utility payments at one of its shopping centers in Illinois to the tune of $30,000.
The Woodville Mall in Ohio, owned by the same company, was shuttered because of safety hazards. Parkinson believes the same may happen in Memphis.
"We've heard from individuals who work inside Raleigh Springs Mall that checks were bouncing from the owner, we've heard from people who frequent the mall that lights were on and lights were off, inoperable bathrooms," he stated.
The Mall's manager, Juanita Jones, says those claims are not true. "I'm not getting any help; our tenants aren't getting any help. So if he's our representative, why isn't he helping us?"
The Raleigh Springs Mall has been on the decline since the 1990's. It was dealt a major blow when Sears left last year, taking 91 jobs along with it.
Property values around the mall have dropped and Parkinson believes it's keeping businesses away from the area.
"If the better option is to tear the Raleigh Springs Mall down and put something else there in place of it, then I'm open to that option as well."
In the meantime, no one can debate the significance of this mall to the area.