What do we memorialize? - Chairman Berlin Boyd's Recap for August 22nd

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Good evening, Memphis,


Every week in this setting, I share with you the highlights of the day, talking about how much good and important work is being done by this Council on your behalf. On no single day has that claim been more true. I’ll do my best to capture it all below, but the full picture, as always, is here.

What do we memorialize?

Today presents a contrast, and a fundamental one at that.

During Executive Session this afternoon, the Council discussed its options for the removal of two statues that memorialize the hopes and vision of a dark past—a vision of segregation, of denigration, of desolation for the vast majority of our community. In a packed room, this Council unanimously and unequivocally represented instead the will of this community: these statues must go and must go quickly, legally, and in a way that will endure forever. They are a nuisance to this community on every front. In two weeks, we’ll choose exactly how to move forward.

To much less fanfare, earlier in the afternoon and then as an add-on downstairs this evening, the Council approved $1,000,000 for the construction of the I AM A MAN commemoration. Just four years after this community erected the Jefferson Davis statue to the traitorous leader of the Confederate States of America in 1964, the people of the City’s Sanitation Department stood up with others and in one voice declared, Our Lives Matter.

Today, in policy and in spirit, this Council made the intentional choice to change forever the direction of memorials in this City. Here’s to our future, together.

Back to Work: Meanwhile, we’re full steam ahead on the business of the living, and I can barely contain my excitement at everything happening in this community.

For those of you at the Grand Opening Celebration of the incredible Crosstown Concourse this Saturday, a $250 million reincarnation and revitalization in the heart of mid and north Memphis, this City is here to say: we’re just getting started!

Just today, here’s what went down:

  • Beginning down a path to increase summer youth employment by the City from 1,250 to 2,000
  • An esteemed collection of the City’s workforce leaders came together as the start of crafting a plan to connect Memphians to the more than 15,600 available jobs in this area. Oh, and don’t miss the Memphis Career Fair on Tuesday, September 12th from 10am – 3pm at the Esplanade in Cordova
  • And to connect them, MATA presented the beginnings of its strategic plan to massively expand service over the next decade, part of an approximate $30 million increase in investment in public transportation
  • The Council approved a $6 million loan as the final piece of a $73 million investment (92% private) to revitalize the historic Wonder Bread factory and the surrounding area of the Edge District between Downtown and the Medical District
  • Speaking of historic, Memphis Heritage presented a full documentation of every National Heritage site in the City. Did you know Memphis has the 6th most properties of any city in the US on the National Register of Historic Places?
  • Updates on the Jackson Avenue Improvement Project were shared with the Housing & Community Development Committee
  • Graceland plans to add a new $40-50 million Theater—creating an additional 150 permanent jobs—on top of investing an estimated $300,000 each year directly in the Whitehaven Economic Redevelopment effort on top of that
  • And on top of all that, HCD Director Paul Young presented an update on the more than $100 million investment to come for our Convention Center, the Pinch (think St. Jude), Mud Island, and the Riverfront, funded entirely by state sales tax dollars

Other Highlights:

  • An amendment to the Mow-to-Own ordinance passed on 3rd and final reading today, expanding the potential lots eligible for the program. Not to mention, 5 new parcels were just accepted into the program
  • The Council approved a $155 million bond issue for MLGW capital projects

Finally, we were honored to welcome the family of Buster’s Liquor founder Rommy Hammond, as we honored his memory and accomplishments with “Rommy Hammond Way”. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been more excited or proud to call Memphis home.