Weekly Update: Our Memphis Fire Department


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Over the last nearly four years, we’ve worked hard to ensure we’re delivering the best possible services to Memphians. This morning, we received independent, outside validation that what we’re doing is working.

We announced that the Memphis Fire Department was given a Class 1 rating (this is a good thing) by Verisk, a third party independent agency that evaluates a community’s fire department, water department and communications systems through their Insurance Services Office (ISO).

This is the first time we’ve achieved this rating since the 1970’s, and this puts Memphis Fire in the top 1% of fire departments nationwide!

Why is this a big deal?

The ISO rating is one of the primary elements used by the insurance industry to develop fire protection premiums for homes and businesses. The better the rating—the better the insurance rate.

Today’s announcement isn’t possible without the dedication of the men and women of Memphis Fire. Their hard work, their commitment to detail, and their commitment to constantly striving to do more and to be better is what made this happen. It’s a tremendous honor and an accomplishment that we should all brag about. 

Our Fire Department is one of the best in the country, and I’m proud to come to work with them every day.

Director Gina Sweat, to you and your team—thank you for all that you do and congratulations on this honor.

More high quality, affordable housing: This is something we’ve been strongly focused on since taking office—increasing access and the supply of high quality, affordable housing for everyone who needs it.

Last week, we talked about the demolition of Tillman Cove, and how new life is coming to the Binghampton neighborhood. Well, this week, Foote Park at South City, which opened on Monday, will do the same for the South City community.

In 2016, more than 350 families were relocated from the last remaining traditional public housing complex, Foote Homes Apartments, to make way for this new development.  The units that they left were in a state of disrepair, but they were home to many families. With over 700 units of housing being built, our team is working to ensure that as many of the former residents that would like to return are able to do so.

Developing affordable, quality housing is a complex effort that requires strong partnerships and collaboration, but the end result as we all know, is more than worth it. This development was years in the making, and as a former Foote Homes Apartment resident said, it was a place to live but it wasn’t a place to call home. And, now it’s homey”.

Positive change coming to Raleigh: This week, Paul Young, the Director of Housing and Community Development and Councilman Sherman Greer presented a plan to both City Council and the County Commission that could dramatically change the face of the Raleigh community. The plan calls for a Raleigh tax increment financing – or TIF – district with Austin Peay Highway as a corridor for mixed-use development.

With $28 million invested in Raleigh Town Center by the City of Memphis, this new TIF district would provide a much-needed boost helping to attract more private investment back into this neighborhood.

For more information on how this will work, check out this article in the Daily Memphian.  

More Jobs coming to town: Boston-based Prospero Health announced earlier this week that they will be opening an operational headquarters taking up 14,000 square feet on the 13th floor of the One Commerce Square building downtown. Over the next five years, their planning to create around 249 jobs.

When asked why they chose Memphis, Doug Wenners, Prospero Health CEO said “Number one, it was the access to a highly trained and skilled workforce. Number two, it was the cost and number three, it was the association with the University of Memphis and the opportunity for partnerships in clinical training and access to future workforce as well."

Wait for it—Memphis Has Momentum! I know I say that phrase all the time, but we truly do have momentum. In just the last year, Mimeo relocated its corporate headquarters here. Indigo Ag opened its North American operational headquarters here. FedEx Logistics relocated its headquarters and is creating more jobs downtown. J&J Express is making significant investments and will be growing its workforce off of Mt. Moriah (if you’re driving on the south leg of 240, you can see their progress through the trees right off the exit).

If you don’t want to take my word for it that we have momentum, read what Memphis economist John Gnuschke has to say about the state of the Memphis economy.

One last plug: Monday at 9 p.m. is the season premiere for “Bluff City Law”. I had the chance recently to get a sneak peek of the first episode. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to miss it.


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