Weekly Update


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In the past eight days alone, I’ve been blessed to attend three different events that made me even more optimistic about the future of Memphis.

One was the ARISE2Read event last week. ARISE2Read, led by Donna Gaines, works with Shelby County Schools, churches, and businesses to strengthen second graders in literacy. In the last four years, these volunteers have doubled the students testing at grade level from an average of 35 percent to 70 percent.

Another was the HopeWorks breakfast Saturday morning. HopeWorks successfully gives those with criminal records a second chance through adult education, job training and employment.

And Sunday, I came away so inspired after attending the Memphis Christian Pastors Network Jubilee Service honoring the 1968 sanitation workers. More than that, the event — attended by hundreds at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church — urged Memphians to take action to tackle our challenges.

Three different groups working in three different areas, but with one common theme: We ALL must do our part to make Memphis the city we know it can be. City government is doing more and more, and we share that in this email every week. But the nonprofit and faith sectors are also stepping up, and they deserve to be highlighted.

Won’t you join? Learn more about and get involved with ARISE2Read here. Do the same with HopeWorks here. And keep an eye on Pastor Rufus Smith of Hope Church and the diverse group of clergy in the Memphis Christian Pastors Network — they’re already doing great work in our city with more to come.

I am proud — and, frankly, humbled — to live in a city that has so many people working to meet our challenges.

A few quick updates this week from City Hall:

  • As soon as the snow and ice melted in mid-January, we went to work repairing our roads. And in a month’s time, we’ve filled more than 9,000 potholes. We know we have more potholes to fill, of course. You can help us by alerting us to potholes in one of three ways: 1) call 3-1-1, 2) visit memphistn.gov/311, or 3) use the Memphis 311 smartphone app.
  • I delivered a version of our 2018 State of the City speech to the members of the Frayser Exchange Club Thursday, reiterating our vision of reinvesting in our core and our neighborhoods to cast the Memphis we all want for our third century. It's always good to visit the Frayser Exchange.
  • We welcome the newest members of the Memphis Fire Department, who graduated from the academy Thursday night.
  • Our tallest building Downtown, 100 North Main, stands empty; it’s something I see pretty much every day as I come to and from City Hall. We’ve been working behind the scenes for months now with private developers wanting to turn that around, and some of that information got out in the news this week. There’s still a lot of work to be done to get the outcome we all want, but we’re eagerly working with these partners to make it happen. More than anything, the interest we’re receiving from private developers on a variety of fronts and in a variety of locations in our city is further proof of our momentum.

Congratulations, Evvie: Our very own Evvie McKinney brought the spotlight to Memphis this week when she won FOX’s “The Four” singing competition. I made sure to be there for her return to Memphis and present her a proclamation praising everything she’s done.

Evvie McKinney

We can’t wait to see where Evvie’s talents take her!

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