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South Memphis Collaborative Will Hold Neighborhood Summit April 4 University News
For release: March 31, 2009

For press information, contact Curtis Thomas, 901-946-9675

More than 80 community residents and leaders are expected to attend the South Memphis Neighborhood Summit on Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Fellowteria of St. Andrew AME Church, 867 South Parkway East.  The meeting will provide local residents and community leaders an opportunity to determine goals and objectives for a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan for the area.

The planning process is spearheaded by the South Memphis Renaissance Collaborative (SMRC), which comprises St. Andrew AME Church, The Works, Inc. Community Development Corporation, the University of Memphis, the Memphis Regional Design Center, the Consilience Group, and Self Tucker Architects. The planning effort is being undertaken in collaboration with the Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development and the Memphis & Shelby County Division of Planning and Development, with support from the Hyde Family Foundations.

The SMRC has organized a broad-based coalition of organizations to mobilize resident, institutional, and business participation in the planning process in order to promote a more vibrant, sustainable, and equitable South Memphis. Among the organizations serving on the sponsoring committee for the SoMe Revitalization Plan are Prepared for the World, Marcus Garvey Institute and Academy, the Venson Center, Whitehaven Southwest Mental Health Center, the Black Chamber of Commerce, Pine Hill Golf Course, Memphis Area Neighborhood Development Corporation, Bonanza Investments, Ruth Tate Senior Center, Memphis/Shelby County Division of Planning and Development, Cooperative Community Development Corporation, and the South Memphis Alliance.

During the morning session of the Summit, residents will review and discuss existing neighborhood conditions and their preferred development options.  In the afternoon session, participants will work to establish an overall development goal, specific revitalization objectives, and a comprehensive set of economic and community development projects to enhance the quality of life for current and future residents of the community.

During the past several months, more than 100 anthropology, architecture, city and regional planning, civil engineering, and public health students from the U of M have reviewed archival materials, examined Census data, inspected more than 2,100 individual lots and buildings, surveyed more than 40 local institutional leaders, and interviewed residents from 174 households to gain a deeper understanding of South Memphis’ many assets, which residents can use to develop and implement an effective revitalization plan.  Among the issues that will be addressed at the Summit are job generation, small business development, affordable housing, quality education, health care access, youth development, senior services, urban design, public safety, and municipal government services.

Residents, business owners, church pastors and elders, social service agency directors, and elected and appointed leaders interested in the section of South Memphis located within these boundaries – west of Interstate 240, north of Persons Avenue, south of Trigg Avenue, and east of Lauderdale Street – are invited to participate in this important community forum.  Lunch, childcare, and activities for youth will be provided.  Individuals needing transportation to and from the meeting may call The Works at 946-9675 or the U of M at 678-2161.

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