The project to transform the Raleigh Springs Mall area into a civic and retail center got a little closer to reality Tuesday.
The Memphis City Council allocated the $23.7 million for the project it approved for it last year. That means the project is close to getting underway.
The project that would raze the mall and build in its place a new police precinct, a new library, and some retail bays. The original plan was to relocate just one Memphis Police Department traffic precinct to the area but the idea expanded.
"This is a chance to re-build that whole neighborhood, as opposed to just building a traffic precinct," said Robert Lipscomb, the city's director of Housing and Community Development.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said last week the city had lined up the appropriate land purchases for the project and would use eminent domain to secure the rest.
The original $23.7 million will be paid for with bonds. However, city officials believe they can defray about $6.2 million worth of the cost with the future sales of MPD's Old Allen Station, and police precincts at Austin Peay, and Union Avenue.
The mall project was unveiled nearly two years ago
and carried a price tag of about $36 million back then.
The council approved a vision plan for the Raleigh Redevelopment Project in November 2013 and approved $7.5 million for a new police precinct there.
The new project would “create a civic plaza containing public facilities that create a more efficient model with shared space, reduction in operating costs, cost effective staffing; and will eliminate slum and blight.”
"This is crucial to our city ," said city council member Bill Morrison. "It is crucial to sending the message that we're not giving up and that we're going to continue to fight."
Council member Jim Strickland was the only council member to vote against the project.