Proposed Second Street expansion could spur development

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A $55.5 million city project could spur major development in the uptown area.

A public meeting is being held Thursday night to discuss the 4.5-mile Second Street expansion, leading from Frayser to I-40 in downtown.

Valerie Peavy opened her sandwich shop, The Office@Uptown, just a year ago. She said she chose the uptown area because she has faith in what it can become.

"I live in Harbor Town," she said. "I was looking for something in the Uptown area, because I saw I need, really."

She's hopeful a city proposal to expand Second Street will bring in more business and development.

"We are really excited about the changes that would obviously spruce up this area and bring us more traffic, we're hoping," she said.

The city wants to start a $55.5 million project that would run from I-40 downtown to the intersection of Whitney at US 51 in Frayser. The goal is to provide a new route into downtown from the north.

It would not be just businesses that could benefit. Slave Haven, an Underground Railroad museum that sits along Second Street, hopes the project will bring them more exposure and visitors.

Museum Director Elaine Turner said, "This will be a thriving and vibrant community again, and we are excited. We have been a museum here for almost 20 years."

Second and Third streets south of Henry would still be two ways. That is a change from a previous version of the proposal discussed in 2011.

"I think it's going to be very beneficial, especially if they still incorporate the boulevard," Peavy said. "So, it be more pedestrian friendly and bike friendly is what I'm hearing."

Peavy added she is grateful to be asked her opinion before construction starts, unlike another recent city project.

"Unlike what happened on Riverfront, I'm just grateful the state and city are working together to inform us before any changes," she said.

The public meeting will be at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Bickford Community Center.