Weekly Update


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I hope you saw the news about how we produced more details this week on the Bicentennial Gateway Project, which is what we’re calling all of the energy and planning that surrounds the Pinch District, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Uptown, Mud Island, the Cook Convention Center -- basically the whole north end of Downtown.

Simply put, it has the potential to be transformative.

In the interest of transparency, here’s the full presentation we gave to the City Council. I wanted to make a few key points beyond that:

  • Don’t get too caught up in particular designs or amenity ideas. These are just concepts of what’s possible; design teams and staff will collaborate with the public to determine exactly what’s coming. But we know we owe it to all of Memphis to think big, as this is a once-in-a-generation possibility.
  • We know that St. Jude, enabled by our infrastructure investment, plans to create 1,800 new jobs. 
  • An architectural team has already been retained to envision the first phase of the convention center renovation. It’s vitally important that our convention center keep up with the times so that we can maintain and grow that vital sector of business.
  • These plans and actions will be in lock-step with Memphis 3.0, our comprehensive plan. As with many other previous neighborhood and site-specific plans, components will be folded in as part of the larger city plan.

And the biggest point worth making? This can all be done by spending money that doesn’t come from the general fund -- the money we spend on core services like police and fire protection. These improvements would be enabled by revenue streams such as the Tourism Development Zone, a Tax Increment Financing district, and the recent increase in the hotel/motel tax.

In all of this, I hope you’ll see a core belief of mine: We can build a better, more exciting future for our city while at the same time dedicating your property tax dollars to core city services and strong neighborhoods.

Did you see these stories?: A couple of news stories caught my eye this week: Average airfares continued to drop at Memphis International Airport, and Memphis was named to this list of the best places to live and work as a moviemaker in 2017.

Call to Action: Every Memphian deserves to live in a neighborhood that’s clean -- both from blight and from litter. We’re taking more and more action against both, but you can particularly contribute to the fight against litter by answering one of our three calls to action -- the Adopt-A-Block program!

Take responsibility for the blocks around your home, your place of worship, or your business. Maybe you can convince a group you're part of to adopt a whole street. Ask your boss if your co-workers can use some volunteer time and adopt a dozen blocks. Whatever form it may take, imagine the multiplying effect if we all pitch in to adopt a block.

The Adopt-A-Block program stands ready to help. The program won’t formally launch until the weather gets warmer, but you can go ahead and let us know of your interest at memphistn.gov/calltoaction.

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