Otis Sanford: Memphis leaders deserve applause for Amazon pitch effort

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis may not be a real serious player in the sweepstakes to land Amazon`s second headquarters, but the city is certainly trying to become one.

And why not?

With up to 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investments on the line, Memphis would be foolish not to make a pitch.

On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council unanimously approved an incentive package worth some $60 million that includes $10 million for infrastructure upgrades and improvements to the transit system. The city also would encourage the local Economic Development Board to offer Amazon a tax freeze for up to 30 years.

County and state governments would be expected to offer inducements well.

Still, Memphis is competing with numerous other cities that have gotten creative to entice the mega giant. One Georgia city, for example, is offering to de-annex property within its boundaries and create a new city named, of course, Amazon.

But beyond the theatrics, Amazon is looking for a metro area with a population over one million, a community that is business friendly, outstanding transportation, good internet and excellent higher education.

Officials in Memphis think they can meet those requirements. We are a major transportation hub thanks to Fed Ex. Plus the city is centrally located with good weather, affordable housing and quality institutions of high learning.

Yet, the chances remain slim that Memphis will be picked, but bravo to city leaders for putting forth a strong effort.