The Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee has joined the fight to save the city home where Aretha Franklin was born.
The Soulsville area pad, which the Queen of Soul called home following her birth in 1942, has been boarded up and left empty for years, and Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter previously ordered that it be demolished.
The ruling was put on hold last year (16) as preservationists worked to stabilise the crumbling home and save it from destruction, and last month (Feb17), it was revealed experts at America's DIY Network had shown an interest in helping to restore the place and possibly relocate it to a safer neighbourhood in a bid to attract more visitors.
Another hearing into the case was held on Thursday (23Mar17), when Alan Crone, special counsel to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, shared news of the city leader's involvement in the preservation effort.
Crone told Judge Potter a group of experts had been assembled by the Mayor to help seek funding to cover the costs of the restoration project in the middle of a neighbourhood full of dilapidated houses.
"If we can get one house right, no matter where it is, that's a victory," Crone said. "But this is a historic property, and it's part of our heritage as Memphians that all kinds of music was literally born here."
The property is currently under the receivership of Jeffrey Higgs, president of the LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation, who explained the DIY Network discussions were still ongoing.
Judge Potter concluded the hearing by expressing his preference for local organisations to step up and save the pad, but he insists he wouldn't be opposed to a little reality TV help.
"I'm serious about the fact that I want that building rehabbed," he said.