Is Ridgeway still a GOOD area? I have no idea, but from my time living in Memphis, whole neighborhoods changed from good to bad faster than any place I know of. The whole city seemed to be in a constant state of flux.
Where this particular house is, it's pretty good.
When did you live here? I moved here in 1997 (the first time) and that was a really weird time because of the issue with the city annexing the various unincorporated parts of the county. Annexation ruined Hickory HIll, and it didn't do a lot for Cordova. Though things have calmed down now, but when area were annexed, that changed parts of the city pretty rapidly.
Memphis is a very affordable city, and while it's definitely got its negatives (oh, yes it does...) but it's got a lot of positives, too. Memphis' biggest problem is that most of the residents don't take a lot of pride in their city. When I moved back from Dallas, I got a lot of "ew, you moved back here...why??" Crime is a problem--some places. I wrote about my own brushes with crime (my house was robbed--twice). YET--it's also a pretty friendly, surprisingly tolerant town despite all the bible thumpers, there are good restaurants here, and surprisingly a pretty good arts scene. And housing is very affordable.
I recently got back from Atlanta. I can't help but compare the 2 cities--both southern cities, with all the pluses and minuses of what that means. Obviously Atlanta is much more affluent, but the traffic situation is freaking CRAZY. Housing is WAY more expensive. Sure, there are jobs, and they probably pay a bit more than Memphis, but in many ways I'd argue the quality of life is not as good as Memphis', unless you live close to your office or really, really enjoy watching the taillights of the car in front of you for hours.
I'm not doing the chamber of commerce thing for Memphis, for sure, but it's where I am now, and I mostly like it OK, but I'm pretty sure I won't live here forever. But I do get a little frustrated with people that think the only places to live are NYC, LA, San Fran, or Boston....and then complain about the cost of living, etc.
I think in a town like Memphis especially, a hard working college graduate with good math and writing skills would be in high demand for lots and lots of companies. We actually have three Fortune 500 companies here: Autozone, Fed Ex, and International Paper, and there are other big companies based here as well. Sadly, the vast majority of the population isn't well educated, so some who has their shit together could do well, I think, and enjoy a lower cost of living.