Weekly Update: A neighborhoods-first administration


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Just a few moments ago, I was proud to take part in the groundbreaking of the new Fire Station 43 in Whitehaven. Once complete, the facility will be a state-of-the-art public safety asset and a gathering spot for the neighborhood with its community room.

Items like these are big parts of how the City of Memphis invests in neighborhoods. In addition to a new fire station in Whitehaven, we’re building a new library in Frayser. We’re getting closer to replacing Ed Rice Community Center. We just unveiled a new pavilion at Lincoln Park. And in the coming months, we’ll open the massive new Raleigh Town Center on the site of the old Raleigh Springs Mall.

But that’s not all. Our in-house and contracted paving crews are working nearly non-stop this summer, as we’ve doubled our paving budget to address the backlog of bumpy streets. In our four budgets, we’ll have paved more than $70 million worth of streets — a big improvement from less than $40 million spent in the four years immediately prior.

And, not even counted in that total is the $44 million remake of Elvis Presley Boulevard, which broke ground earlier this year.

We focus a lot on people in this weekly email, and we should — drastic increases in programming for youth and rebuilding the police department, for instance, should not go unsaid. But when it comes to infrastructure, when it comes to the buildings and roads on which our city runs, we’ve been stepping up, too.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Ours is a neighborhoods-first administration. While it’s incredibly important what’s going on Downtown, it’s just as important what’s going on down the street.

Taking care of Memphis Fire: Because of the dangerous nature of their work, fire fighters have an increased risk for cancer. So recently, Fire Chief Gina Sweat and I were proud to work with our MFD employees in expanding the number of cancer diagnoses that we would cover under our workers compensation policy.

This means we provide care that's over and above what's required by state law, and according to the Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association, we may well be the first large city in the state to do that.

Go Tigers Go: I hope everyone enjoyed their time at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Saturday; it was a fun day with the win over Ole Miss. I also hope you took note of the improvements like the new video board. Councilman Reid Hedgepeth, whose term ends at the end of this year, has been a big driver of those improvements and I was glad to see him getting an award from the U of M at the game for all of this work.

Reid Hedgepeth at the Liberty Bowl

Changing the world: Memphis is a special place — both for us who live here, and for how it’s changed the world. I say it all the time, particularly when I’m greeting out-of-town guests.

Blues music was perfected here. Rock-and-roll was invented here. The Civil Rights Movement was advanced here through the bravery of the 1,300 sanitation workers whose "I AM A MAN" signs still resonate today. Express package delivery revolutionized the business world from here, and childhood cancer is being treated and cured every single day here.

Looks like our friends at Bluff City Law feel the vibe, too. Check out this promo video and be sure to watch the premiere episode on Sept. 23. I’m eager for the world to see more about our great city.

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