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Pro-Parking

Evergreen residents work out problems with a nearby abortion clinic.

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Scott Price, a resident of Midtown's Evergreen Historic District, is pro-choice, but he doesn't have any choice when it comes to problems that stem from living near an abortion clinic.

The Memphis Center for Reproductive Health on Poplar is located at the end of his residential side street, and since the clinic has no parking lot, patients must park along that street. Price and his neighbors near the clinic complain that patrons block driveways, play loud music, and litter.

Staff at the center, located in a converted historic home, perform abortions several evenings a week and on Saturday mornings.

"When people come home from work, it's just a menagerie of cars," says Price.

On Saturdays, up to 30 cars line both sides of the street. Since the clinic recommends patients bring someone to drive them home, Price says there are often people waiting in the vehicles.

"Sometimes when people are blasting their music, I'll knock on their windows and ask them politely to turn it down, but they usually say, 'It's a street. I can do what I want,'" says Dustin Din, another neighbor of the clinic.

Mary Frank, executive director at the clinic, says she met last week with the Evergreen Historic District Association (EHDA) about neighbors' concerns. She agreed to distribute flyers to clients encouraging them to be good neighbors.

"The flyer says not to play loud music or dump trash in the street," says Frank. "The perception is that the cars are blocking driveways, but what's really happening is they're parking on either side of the street, making it difficult to get into driveways."

The clinic has been at that location for 32 years, and Frank says clients have always parked on the street.

The neighbors also complain about protesters who gather in front of the clinic while abortions are being performed.

"It's kind of eerie when you have five people facing the clinic praying," says Din. "I really don't want to see that every day."

Frank says she doesn't like the protesters either, but there isn't much she can do to stop them.

"Most of them are very respectful," says Frank. "We know of clinics where they yell and scream, but they stand quietly here."

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