University cleans up eyesore after Channel 4 I-Team investigation


Matt Hale said it only took a phone call from the Channel 4 I-Team to do something he’s been trying to do for three years: clean up his neighbor’s property.

“It's very impressive that Channel 4 can get something done in literally 24 hours,” Hale said.

Set in the heart of Green Hills, in the middle of a residential neighborhood, the overgrown property has become such an eyesore, neighbors have been complaining about it for years to the owner.

The owner is right across the street: Lipscomb University.

The property, at the intersection of Granny White Pike and Caldwell Lane, was covered in weeds stretching several feet in the air, had a tree that was split, a limb hanging on a phone line, and had become the home to mice, snakes and raccoons.

In fact, a family of raccoons had recently moved into the home of Matthew Hale’s parents, who live next door.

"There's been a family of raccoons that's come over to this house. It's cost $4,000 to $5,000 worth of removal fees,” Hale said.

Hale said the property hasn’t been mowed in a year, all while Lipscomb’s property one street over was meticulously mowed.

Hale said his family has been calling and complaining for years.

“Just the phone calls trying to get them to do something about it is really the main issue,” Hale said.

Late last month, Hale got a voice mail from Larry Cochran, associate vice president of finance and endowment, apologizing for the property.

In the voice mail, Cochran suggested Hale call codes on the university.

“I would not hesitate to call Metro, and they will send a letter that needs to go directly to the president's office,” Cochran said in the voice mail.

The Channel 4 I-Team asked Lipscomb spokeswoman Kim Chaudoin about that voice mail.

“A lot of times, with the nature of having a lot of people who work here, offices don't always know what the plans are that others have in place,” Chaudoin said.

Chaudoin said the university, which paid $1 million dollars for the property in 2014, had no current plans for the land and wanted it to remain in its natural state for the time being.

Chaudoin said she understands how neighbors may have been frustrated by the university’s timetable.

“Did it simply take too long to respond?” asked the I-Team.

“Not having been involved in some of those decisions and conversations, it's not my place to speculate on that. But you know I can understand that people have different ideas of when things should be taken care of and maintained, and I know when you're living near something I know it's important because our homes are important to us,” Chaudoin said.

Just 48 hours after the I-Team started asking questions about the property, Lipscomb sent crews over to clean up the property, including taking down the split tree and taking the limb off the wire.

“Something that took us three years to get done was done in a day,” Hale said.

The I-Team asked Chaudoin why it took so long to clean it up.

“I really can't speculate on the length of time it took but I do know, looking forward, we will have it on a regular maintenance schedule,” Chaudoin said.

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the News4 I-Team's Chief Investigative Reporter. He has won multiple Midsouth Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

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