MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - More than $40 million will be spent sprucing up the area around Graceland in Whitehaven. Memphis City Councilmen are trying to get even more money for the project in an effort to boost tourism, but residents are worried a dime won't be spent in their neighborhoods.
Residents are meeting with city leaders almost on a monthly basis to talk about how that money should be spent. Streets and sidewalks are at the top of the list, but residents want more.
$43 million is the city's budget to improve the area outside Graceland. $27 million is coming from the state, and the rest is coming from the city's capital improvement budget.
"Good, because it's needed, it's really needed," said Whitehaven resident Raymond Carlock.
There are plans to revamp streets, sidewalks, street lights, landscaping, and more. Work will start at Brooks Road and Elvis Presley Boulevard.
City Councilman Harold Collins stated, "Thousands of visitors come from across the world and hit that interchange and we need to let them know that they're entering to a real nice entertainment area, but also a very successful residential community at the same time."
That's what residents want to hear, but what about the areas where people live?
"I would love to see them improve the neighborhoods, the streets, and we need sidewalks through here,' Carlock said.
Kaylnn Doss would like to see a playground, "a little community center to, you know, help kids, help with poverty."
It's hard to ignore the overgrown grass, empty lots, potholes, and blight outside Graceland. Residents are happy something will finally be done to clean it all up, they just don't want to be forgotten.
"I hope they bring something back to our community besides just building up Elvis Presley [Boulevard]," Doss said.
The Elvis Presley Boulevard project will take three years to complete; work will start in November.