Memphis, TN (abc24.com) — More than $25 million is waiting in the wings to clean up Elvis Presley Boulevard but nothing has happened. Memphis City Council members told abc24.com more money is needed before construction can begin and others want to use the money for different projects.
The city applied for a $7 million transportation grant to fix up Elvis Presley Boulevard. The city won’t find out if they get the grant until Spring of next year and even then, construction might not happen until 2013.
Millions of people travel on that boulevard excited to come to Graceland but getting there to see the King has people upset.
"You have bars on windows of vacant buildings and the tourists don't want to go near it,” said a Canadian tourist Veronica McKaig.
"Just looking around the area, it looks poor," said another tourist, Richard Fiset.
"There are big potholes everywhere," said Ellen O’Neal of Texas. It is her third time coming to Graceland.
Streets and sidewalks are falling apart. Low-end motels, vacant parking lots, and buildings are all on Elvis Presley Boulevard. Tourists say it's an eye sore and a disgrace to Elvis.
"It needs to be modernized and cleaned up so it doesn't scare people," said McKaig.
"Elvis was the type of person who wanted things looking good. It's his home everything needs to be kept up with and looking good so you should be proud of it,” said tourist Jo Weatherford.
The city's project to revitalize the boulevard would improve sidewalks, landscaping, and add bike lanes.
What remains in question now is when that construction will happen. Two years ago the city received a one million dollar federal grant, which was also supposed to go to the area.
A city councilman told abc24.com it was used for a study on the project.
The Memphis City Council meets December 6th to discuss plans for the project, if they are awarded the grant money.