Weekly Update


Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share


Our pitch to Amazon on why it should make Memphis the home of its massive planned second headquarters has been signed, sealed and delivered. Now, we wait.

I started reaching out to our team within minutes of reading the news of Amazon's expansion back in September, because I know we have so much to offer. But this has truly been a team effort beyond just City Hall. Give credit to Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell for pulling together all of the suburban mayors to make it a true regional team pitch, and give credit to our partners at the Greater Memphis Chamber for coordinating the hours and hours of hard work that went into making our pitch pop.

I can't agree more with the #MemphisDelivers campaign, which is letting Amazon know that when it counts, Memphis comes through. Fred Smith and Pitt Hyde and so many other business leaders have seen it. Elvis and everyone at Stax showed it to the world. And you and I have the great honor of experiencing it every single day when we enjoy the spirit and soul that our city delivers.

As I tweeted this week, Memphis changes the world. Time and time again, Memphis delivers. We’re letting Amazon — and so many others in our quest for economic growth — know it day after day.

Making progress: I’m sure you saw in the news where we unveiled aspirations to build an aquarium and a cultural center — that’s the future Brooks Museum of Art spot — Downtown as part of our massive Bicentennial Gateway Project. If not, you can read all about it here.

As I said when we unveiled it, this remains far from concrete. Think of this as more of what’s possible. And this is important: By leveraging sales tax dollars (the Tourism Development Zone) that would otherwise have gone to Nashville (along with leveraging the private sector in a public-private partnership), we can do this without using the general fund dollars that pay for basic services like police and fire.

Our next step is to get state approval for our TDZ amendment. After that, we’ll still need to identify millions of private dollars to make it work. If an announcement like this that includes a vision without having all of the loose ends for funding tied up seems unusual to you, you're right. It’s unusual for me, too. However, before the state approves a TDZ, we have to show a detailed vision of tourism-related amenities that we would use TDZ funds to help build. It’s just the way the process works.

As a Memphian for almost all of my life, I know well our collective fatigue about plans that lie on the shelf and big dreams that suffer for lack of follow-through. I pledge to you to continue the drive to make this a reality, and I hope this week showed you progress.

This is a big, bold vision that our team and our partners have brought closer to reality. I hope it shows you, too, that we can both be brilliant at the basics of delivering quality core services while making big moves in building our future.

Keeping our kids safe: I’m sure you were just as troubled as I was when, a few weekends back, we had a spate of accidental gun deaths of our children. So we went to work partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Project ChildSafe in coordinating a gun lock giveaway across our city on Tuesday.

We were able to distribute some 2,500 gun locks in this program, I’m proud to report. I spent the afternoon visiting the six sites where the locks were being handed out, and I was so glad to see families taking these proactive steps for safety.

Gun Lock Distribution

Keeping us safe: Reducing violent crime is my No. 1 priority as your mayor, and the best short-term way I can address it is by rebuilding our police department’s ranks. As you know, the largest police class in seven years graduated the academy and joined the force in August.

A class that’s almost as large is working its way through the academy right now. If you’d like to get an inside look into its work, I encourage you to follow the MPD Training Academy profile on Facebook.

Quick fact: The Big River Crossing, which opened a year ago this weekend, has attracted some 250,000 visitors in just one year!

Pardon our progress: At an event Sunday, two of you came to me to volunteer how much you like seeing the freshly paved streets in our city. We’ve doubled our street paving budget in the last four years, and it’s showing.

Our crews worked the weekend to pave a segment of Holmes Road that was apparently in such bad shape that truck drivers were honking and giving thumbs-up to the workers as they did their jobs. Two more segments of Holmes Road will be paved this weekend and next, so be aware if you’re driving in that area.

As always, you can check where we plan to pave on this map.

We agree, Tony: You probably saw this by now, but if you haven't read Tony Allen's letter to Memphis from earlier this week, you really owe it to yourself to give it a click.

Leading the Way: We had a fun kickoff to the City of Memphis’ United Way fundraiser this year. No, really — we raced golf carts on Civic Center Plaza while wearing distortion goggles.

There was method to this; the winner got credit for the loser’s sponsored donations that had been collected by employees and supporters. I raced United Way President/CEO Dr. Kenneth Robinson, and I’m proud to say that, yes, I won.

Mayor at United Way

Most importantly, we got off to a great start of our employees supporting all of United Way’s meaningful causes. I hope you’ll consider donating, too.


Mayor's signature