U.S. Chamber Recognizes Memphis As Innovative City

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Memphis was one of seven cities recognized for its focus on job creation, economic growth, and crime reduction in a new report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The "Enterprising Cities" report notes that the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team's "clean it, activate it, sustain it" strategy has led to an increase in business activity, redevelopment, and economic vitality in certain core Memphis neighborhoods. Since 2011, the team has focused its efforts on revitalizing three areas — Cleveland/Madison, South Memphis, and Binghampton — through a variety of strategies that include 25 Square (neighborhood blight reduction 25 blocks at a time), MemFIX (community festivals), MemSHOP (pop-up shops), and helping small business owners grow their existing businesses.

"If you look north toward Broad or toward Stax or Overton Square, that used to be nothing but plywood," said Mayor A C Wharton at a press conference on the report today at Splash Creative in the Broad Avenue Arts District.

David Wayne Brown, president of Splash Creative and president of the Historic Broad Business Association, said 25 new businesses had located in the Broad Avenue Arts District since he moved to the area in 2007, several years before the community's revitalization began. Brown said that $4.9 million had been invested in public infrastructure over the last few years, including money devoted to building a two-way cycle track from Overton Park to the Shelby Farms Greenline.

Six other cities were named in the U.S. Chamber's "Enterprising Cities" report — Dayton, Ohio; Irving, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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