Take a moment. Imagine 34.4 acres of debris piled 100 feet in the air. Now, imagine it stored next to your home or office. Better yet, the debris is piled next to your child’s school.

Unthinkable, right?


Memphis Wrecking Co. has petitioned the City of Memphis Land Use Board to expand its landfill in Frayser on a tract adjacent to Whitney Achievement Elementary School, 1219 Whitney Ave. Company officials say this will be the most beautiful landfill in all the land — safe, clean, and odorless and a tremendous asset for the Frayser community.

The Frayser community stands in unity and opposes this expansion.

It would be easy to make the case that racism and classism plays a part in this expansion effort. As we all know, there are certain neighborhoods where this would not even be a thought. But there is much more than that.

News that Memphis Wrecking Co. is seeking to expand its landfill in Frayser for a third time frustrates residents who do not want a dump built next to a school.

Frayser is in a period of new life, growth and activity. Frayser is fast becoming a vibrant neighborhood on the northern edge of Memphis with a very strong identity. Frayser stakeholders love our community and are committed to investing our time, talent and resources into its bright future.

A quick drive down Trezevant Street and you will see Ms. Christine Granberry speeding down the street in her wheelchair picking up litter. (I like to joke that the city installed speed bumps to slow her down.) Or drive over to the Girls Inc. farm and watch our future world-changers develop a strong work ethic, and leadership and entrepreneurial skills by running every aspect of the farm — from planting seeds to selling the produce at market.

Looking for a great place to live? Frayser offers a unique combination of urban, suburban and country living. Whether you are looking for a bungalow or a 100-acre horse ranch, Frayser has got you covered. But you better act fast, housing values in Frayser are rising faster than in any other neighborhood in Memphis. Prices were up 38 percent in July compared with last year, according to the Frayser Community Development Corporation.

What about the schools?

Our young scholars and dedicated staffs in collaboration with our community stakeholders are proving the possible every day. On a visit to Delano Elementary, you can watch students programming their own computer games. Or go and watch a stage production at Frayser Elementary performed by the students and staff working with Playback Memphis.

As with any community that has experienced systemic disinvestment, Frayser has its challenges, but we are defying the odds and Frayser is moving in the right direction. In every category that measures a vibrant community, Frayser is fighting to change the narrative and winning.

Make no mistake we don’t mind a good fight: The renovation of Ed Rice Community Center, a new Frayser library. Yes.

But a landfill?

Teddy King

Teddy King has lived in Frayser for 30 years and works for the Achievement School District.

This is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit reporting project on economic justice in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today.