Locally, the Office of Government Relations serves as the liaison between county and city elected officials and agencies and the University of Memphis. We coordinate infrastructure improvements in the campus vicinity, as well as work with the surrounding neighborhood associations on problems like blight and crime. The University of Memphis, through its many partnerships within the local community, focuses much of its research on addressing the unique urban challenges facing the City of Memphis.
(from r to l): Sen. Beverly Marrero, Mayor AC Wharton, Rep. Mike Kernell, Rep. Barbara Cooper, Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Mark Norris, President Shirley Raines, Rep. Mark White
Walker Avenue Streetscape
In 2012, the Office of Government Relations worked with the University Neighborhood Development Corporation, area business owners and neighbors in securing a Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant to redevelop Walker Avenue. This grant from the state will replace sidewalks, add a pedestrian plaza, adding bike lanes,benches and more lighting to enhance a sense of place for the community.
Highland Row TIF
The Office of Government Relations, working with President Raines' office, our Business and Finance office, and the University Neighborhood Development Corporation (UNDC), helped secure Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the Poag McEwen Project on Highland. In 2007, after 2 years of negotiations, the TIF passed both the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission. By qualifying for a TIF, the developer is allowed to use bonds to finance infrastructure improvements based on new tax revenues generated by the project.
"Highland Row" as the project has come to be known, is an exciting new mixed-use retail and residential development located on the west side of Highland, directly across from the UofM main campus. This urban-inspired environment will serve as the gateway to the University of Memphis. The project is part of a redevelopment plan for the area and supported by the University District, Inc., which is a partnership comprised of neighborhoods, businesses, and the UofM to promote, preserve, and encourage revitalization of the Highland area community.