Federal Funds Help Give An Old Broad A New Face

(Memphis) Federal officials toured Memphis Friday to see their money at work.

Several projects around the city are being paid for with these dollars, like the Broad Street Business Corridor, where business owners say they are working to improve the image of this part of town.

Or, as they put it, give an old Broad a new face.

Pat Brown owns the T. Clifton art gallery, “If you had been on broad avenue 10 years or more ago crime was rampant. Things sadly declined.”

When protests stopped the I-40 highway project from going through this part of town business moved out.

Federal money is now helping turn the neighborhood around with small project grants.

John Paul Shaffer with Livable Memphis said, “You have to be willing to recognize that they may be temporary, they may fail, but the majority of them are going to invite more private investment, community investment.”

The money comes from a program called a partnership for sustainability.

The Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the EPA decide which cities get the money.

So far, Memphis has been given $130 million over five years for fixer-upper projects.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx says the partnership wants to use Memphis as an example of how to use this money right, while they watch how it’s spent, “There are always accountability and controls with federal money, and that will not stop today.”

Pat Brown says these investments inspired her to move her art gallery to Broad Street where changes are coming block by block, “I was taught early on in business that there is never enough heat to boil the ocean but you can boil a pot of water. It truly is one block at as time.”

That $130 million dollars has helped rebuild Dixie Homes into Legends Park and also build bike lanes including on Broad Street.

These individual projects wont fix all of the problems in Memphis, but the real message from everyone here is change is happening.

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