Some background on the cover story about Northaven in the latest edition of The Memphis News…
We first came across Louis Padgett in our coverage of the schools consolidation planning commission. He is one of the 21 citizens serving on the group that has drafted the blueprint for the consolidated countywide school system.
As the principal of Northaven Elementary School his perspective is unique as an educator although there are several others on the commission who were classroom teachers and principals at other times in their lives.
From there we encountered Padgett at the formal opening of the new Northaven fire station last month and that’s where we picked up on just how devoted Padgett is to the area.
Some of that came from Padgett’s enthusiasm. But most of it came from what others at the event said about him — especially those who Padgett took for rides around a community that most people don’t give a second thought even if they know it exists.
Go west on North Watkins from Highway 51 — past Old Millington Road, a stretch of road where the “old” is an essential part of the definition, and keep going past the horse stable with the old silo. Northaven Road is the entrance off Watkins into the community.
If you believe that the forest in Shelby Forest stops and ends within the confines of the state park bearing the name, you will be shocked to discover that the forest is alive and well in Northaven’s streetscape. At this time of the year, the grass doesn’t just get high in some parts of Northaven. It melds with the large trees and vines to become a dense moving mass of nature that seems always poised to overwhelm anything in its path.
It hasn’t been that long ago that the Horton Gardens public housing development closed. But it hasn’t taken long at all for nature to reclaim much of the property.
Impact Baptist Church pastor Michael Ellis has his eye on the property. He told us he would like to see it as senior citizen housing with some housing also for military veterans.
Meanwhile, Padgett’s list includes more through streets connecting Northaven to North Watkins. He is convinced the limited access and the isolation it presents are a factor – not the only factor – but a factor in the area’s crime problem.
He’s not alone in that thinking. Memphis Police years ago in analyzing the significant gang problem in the Davy Crockett area of Frayser and surrounding Rangeline Road area found the one way in – one way out road structure in some of the subdivisions was a disadvantage in combating the gangs in that area at the street level with daily enforcement tactics.