Revitalization efforts to help Highland area

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Construction, hiring signs and a newly opened restaurant make it clear, Highland Street appears to be growing.

"For someone my age, it's just nice to see this area coming back. It was really thriving at one point," Becky Amos told WREG Tuesday.

It`s a revitalization effort being pushed by The Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County.

The initiative means the Highland Strip will operate using redevelopment plans until 2037. For residents, that means constant growth throughout the next few decades.

"We drove up and we are amazed at how much building and new stuff is going on."

John Colmer lives in Germantown, but decided to have lunch at Char, the new restaurant along the strip that just opened on Monday.

"We are here to eat at Char. We wouldn`t have come otherwise."

Amos works at the University of Memphis and said bringing shopping, dining, and living together and packing it all into a one stop shop is a major draw for her campus.

"Students can come to the university, live in the dorms and have all of this nice area just within steps."

According to the University of Memphis, enrollment is already up this year.

The freshman class alone is up by 30% and they expect as new businesses gravitate towards the area, the numbers will only continue to creep up.

That will give them the opportunity to improve recruitment and keep students entertained when they aren`t hitting the books.

The Highland Strip is what is known as a Tax Increment Financing District.

The plan is to reverse trends of unemployment, declining population and pull more people to the Highland area.