MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis City Council got a detailed look Tuesday at an aggressive $200 million plan that Mayor Jim Strickland called the “largest city investment in neighborhoods and city facilities in the history of the city of Memphis.”
Council members meeting in committee gave a mostly enthusiastic thumbs-up to the Accelerate Memphis plan by endorsing a resolution in support. It will be up for a full council vote following a financial presentation.
“This is a win for the city of Memphis, and it’s going to come right when we need it economically,” Councilman Jeff Warren said.
Accelerate Memphis would take advantage of a city debt load that is expected to fall by about $63 million beginning to 2026 to secure funding for its sprawling projects. Those projects are broken down into three main areas:
- $75 million to “activate” development at 34 neighborhood anchors across the city. Each of these anchors would receive an infusion of $400,000 for improvements like street paving, sidewalks and crosswalks and public wifi. It also calls for larger investments in nine anchor areas: Raleigh, Whitehaven, South City, Soulsville, Hollywood/Klondyke, Orange Mound, Highland Heights and Oakhaven. Safety improvements are planned for eight intersections, including Lamar and Kimball. Investments of $7.5 million would go toward expanding high-speed internet access and affordable housing.
- $75 million for a range of improvements at the city’s parks, community centers, playgrounds, trails, aquatic centers and golf courses.
- $50 million for repairs at FedExForum and AutoZone Park, a renovation of the long-vacant Melrose High School into a library and senior housing, upgrades that will allow concerts to return to the Mud Island Amphitheater, demolition or improvement to the vacant 100 North Main building downtown, and improvements to make underpasses safer for pedestrians.
“This is an awesome, I mean an awesome, project,” Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson said. “We need this momentum. Memphis is moving.”
Strickland introduced the plan as part of his State of the City address last week.
City COO Doug McGowen said Tuesday construction could begin as soon as the plan receives council approval and money is in hand.
He said the city aims to complete all projects by Dec. 31, 2023.