Weekly Update: Our vision to accelerate Memphis' momentum


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Three years ago, you wanted change — in how City Hall operates, and in how we tackle our challenges.

We accepted your challenge. And every day since, we’ve worked to continue to change City government and the direction of Memphis. If you’ve been reading this Weekly Update these past three years, you’re well aware of the change. But it’s always worth having a big-picture reminder.

We’ve worked to deliver better government, like reducing average 911 call answer times from 60 seconds to 7 seconds, doubling the share of City spending with minority and women-owned businesses, fixing an antiquated and neglected police recruiting pipeline, and doubling what we spend on paving roads.

Today, we see encouraging signs of our progress, like a rebuilding police department, a long-awaited City funding plan for Pre-Kindergarten, some 18,000 more Memphians working, our first comprehensive plan in nearly 40 years and a plan to fund its implementation, and $15 billion in development in the region — with most happening inside our city limits.

Make no mistake: We will continue all of this work.

But here’s something that’s just as important: Our vision of how Memphis, as we begin our third century this year, will continue our momentum.

When I drive to City Hall each morning or when I am in the community with you, I’m motivated to continue the work for a Memphis that...

… has safer streets — where we continue our progress to reduce violent crime and recent success in rebuilding the police department (like the 84 new officers that joined just this week!).

… has smoother streets — where we send that visual message to every neighborhood, in every part of our city, that we care. Ours is a neighborhoods-first administration, after all.

… is a place our children can take advantage of all of our wealth of opportunity — where they have every chance to take the right path and not the wrong path, and where they learn to read at an early age, so they can then read to learn their way to a successful career.

... will continue to grow from within — by building up, not out, guided by our first growth plan in nearly four decades and City government’s first dedicated fund for infrastructure improvements in neighborhoods.

… will be equitable and just — where poverty will continue to fall, and where our work to double the City’s minority and women-owned business spending will spill over into more flourishing black-owned businesses throughout Memphis.

... will have more jobs — where our current companies grow, where new companies move to town, where people can get to work easier and more quickly by transit, and where everyone has the connection to the skills they need to succeed in the economy of the future.

I’ll make it simple: I don’t simply want to have momentum in Memphis — I want to accelerate our momentum. I want to take this special time in our history and continue turning the corner into a prosperous future for everyone in every part of our city — a prosperous future that we all know Memphis deserves.

As I said in our State of the City speech in January, this is how we multiply our growth — by committing ourselves to the quiet work of improving how we serve citizens, day in, day out.

This is how we keep our foot on the pedal — not by shouting or playing the partisan political games we read about in Washington, but by sitting down with each other, by listening, by compromising, and by working together on substance.

This is how we accelerate our momentum — together.

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