Weekly Update

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Prior to this pandemic, I spoke often of the economic momentum our city was feeling, and while it has slowed over the last year—it is beginning to pick up speed—quickly.

On city-managed projects alone, the list is growing with each passing week. One of those projects, in particular, is one I’ve mentioned before—Liberty Park.

Earlier this week, the Tennessee State Funding Board approved the issuance of Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) Bonds for the City of Memphis to directly fund new developments to Liberty Park (meaning we can start construction).

As you may remember, Liberty Park is the new name for the old Memphis Fairgrounds and Phase 2 of its redevelopment is underway. This phase will include infrastructure improvements to the Park by the City and a mixed-use development by private developers featuring hospitality and restaurants. Liberty Park will be anchored by the Memphis Sports and Event Center (MSEC), a state-of-the-art youth sports facility housing two multi-purpose venues with the ability to host multiple major tournaments simultaneously.

The facility will include a hardcourt pavilion with permanent hardwood courts for basketball and volleyball; a 75,000 square-foot column-free events pavilion designed to host sporting events, trade shows, graduations, and more. When not used for tournaments or special events, children will use it for organized sports or unorganized fun. Construction of the MSEC is expected to be completed in October 2022.

All that to say, this development will be transformative for this neighborhood and the greater Mid-South region, and I’m ready to see the dirt moving on this site very soon.

Helping those in need: I want to take moment to highlight the good work of both the City of Memphis and Shelby County Governments. Earlier this year the two governments received a combined $28 million in rent and utility relief funds to help our citizens in need. To date, through City of Memphis Housing and Community Development and Shelby County’s Division of Community Services roughly $5.7 million of those funds have been distributed.

Why does this matter?

The most important reason is that we’re performing the mission of the program which is getting the funds out to those who need them effectively and efficiently. The other reason this is a big deal is that many other areas are having difficulty distributing their funds. For example, Georgia received $552 million and has distributed $4 million; Arizona received $289 million and has distributed 4.38 million.

If you or someone you know needs help with rent and utility assistance, you can find help and resources here.

Proof is in the Pudding: During the pandemic, Mayor Harris has hosted a regular call with all the mayors in Shelby County on Thursday mornings. On yesterday’s call, the Shelby County Health Department and Dr. Manoj Jain made some very poignant points regarding the importance of getting vaccinated.

To date, we have lost 1,671 souls to this virus. Since vaccines were made available, the Shelby County Health Department and Dr. Jain know of no one who has died in Shelby County from COVID who was fully vaccinated; and, there have been less than 100 breakthrough cases, and of those, there have been “minimal health consequences.” For instance, a heavily vaccinated nursing home just tested around 12 residents as positive, but they either had no symptoms or light symptoms.

Bottom line—no one needs to die from COVID-19 anymore—get vaccinated. We’re doing everything within our power to spread the word—even going door-to-door because it’s that important.

To get your shot today, go here.

Memphis Digital Financial Revolution: Today and tomorrow, the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, City of Memphis, and the Shelby County Commission Black Caucus are presenting a Financial Literacy and Empowerment Weekend.

The event will educate the community about financial literacy and commemorate the centennial of the 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre in Tulsa, OK.

For a full listing of the events this weekend, go here.

A tragic loss: Nearly a week ago now, a 27-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department Officer Scotty Triplett was struck and killed by a car while on duty. The loss of Officer Triplett serves as a constant reminder that each time our officers put on their uniform it may be the last.

Our city lost a dedicated public servant, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. As said at the funeral today, the Triplett family and the City as a whole lost a good man and a hero.

Memorial Day: As we move into the holiday weekend, I want to pause for a moment to remember the reasons why many businesses will be closed on Monday. Throughout the course of our nation’s history, thousands of brave men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the many freedoms we experience each and every day. I hope at some point over the weekend we can all take a moment to remember those losses and the families they left behind.


Be safe this weekend, and enjoy the time with your family and friends.


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