Weekly Update: Another way we're building up, not out


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

Bookmark and Share


Our vision for Memphis is simple to articulate: We want to reverse population loss and chart a growing course for our city in our third century. We’ll do that by running an efficient and effective City government — and by enacting policies that ensure we build up, not out.

One such policy was highlighted last week by The Daily News. It’s our residential PILOT program, an idea I campaigned on in 2015 and have worked hard to implement since we arrived in office two and a half years ago.

The concept is easy. For years, we’ve had a residential boom on the South End of Downtown thanks in large part to a tax incentive that state law limited only to Downtown and Midtown.

Why limit it to only inside the Parkways, though? So we fought to expand the eligibility of the incentive, and earlier this year, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the law that’s making it happen. Now, a developer can apply for the incentive to build anywhere in the city. If the math works and the incentive is proven to be needed, it will be granted.

That leads to the potential of higher density and better housing stock throughout our city. It’s a win-win.

Already, projects on Broad Avenue and on the east side of Overton Park have been approved. It will take years and years to see the full impact on our density, as these projects take some time to work their way through the system. But I’m confident that the residential PILOT will prove to be a major part of our “Build Up” philosophy of reinvesting in our core and our neighborhoods.

I send a major thank-you to the two state legislators who sponsored the bill and were strong advocates along the way: Sen. Brian Kelsey and Rep. Kevin Vaughan. Thanks, guys.

Don’t forget about TDOT: As we shared with you back in mid-June, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is taking back over the maintenance of state routes in the city limits — major routes like Poplar Avenue, Elvis Presley Boulevard and Germantown Parkway.

This will allow us to concentrate resources on neighborhood streets, which only have us to maintain them. We estimate 15-20 percent more litter cleanups and faster pothole response time.

As for potholes or other issues on state routes, you’ll need to call 684-5467 to report them to TDOT. If you’re wondering which streets are state routes and which aren’t, here’s a handy map.

This is a net positive for Memphis streets, but we know it comes with some transition challenges. I appreciate your patience with this.

Our condolences: I was shocked and saddened this morning when I found out about the passing of state Rep. Ron Lollar. He was a strong advocate for Shelby County and for education, and I'll miss his friendship and his sense of humor. I hope you'll join me in keeping his family in your prayers.

National recognition: Congratulations to our Division of Finance, which once again received acclaim for compiling our comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). These reports are critical when it comes to demonstrating that we’re a transparent and prudent government when it comes to your money. The national Government Finance Officers Association has awarded its certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting as proof of our commitment.

New flights: Southwest Airlines recently announced it plans to increase daily departures from Memphis to Dallas from once daily to three times daily. It’s yet another step forward for MEM, which recently announced a 5.4 percent year-over-year increase in passengers in May.

Congrats: The three new members of the Barbecue Hall of Fame this year include Charlie Vergos, the founder of the Rendezvous! Charlie passed away a few years back, but his legacy lives on through one of our most recognizable restaurants — and to be honest, one of the most recognizable places in town.

Congratulations to the Vergos family!

Mayor's signature