Midtown Developments

| February 22, 2007

Annesdale Snowden is preparing for the worst.

The historic district has spent the last several years working on a disaster-preparedness plan for the Midtown neighborhood.

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According to Ian Randolph, president of the Annesdale Snowden Historic District, "The neighborhood's disaster plan will be a comprehensive plan that addresses most of the perils we face: earthquake, fire, chemical spills, etc." It will detail what the neighborhood's response should be in each case.

Ultimately, Randolph says, a copy of the disaster plan could be kept in each house in the neighborhood and would stay with the house when a resident moves. "This will give us a sense of control in the midst of chaos. It will enable us to be of service to our neighbors -- our extended family."

The impetus for the plan began with an ice storm a few years ago. "We had power out for almost a week," Randolph says. "We had elderly neighbors who needed to be checked on. As a neighborhood, we had no way to deal with all the challenges we faced. Hurricane Katrina drove this home even more."

The neighborhood association has arranged for residents to get Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) from the Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Management Agency (SCEMA). Association members also attended an emergency-training class sponsored by MLGW. Wendy Cantrell, from SCEMA, came to Annesdale Snowden to do a training session for neighbors. "This has been a long-term project that we hope to have completed by this summer," Randolph says.

"In our training, we have been told that, in a catastrophic emergency, we need to be able to survive on our own for three to five days," he says. "If we don't plan for this as a neighborhood, it will be to our detriment.

"The images of Katrina fill my mind every time I think about our plan. In Memphis, our biggest threat is from an earthquake; unlike Katrina, there will be no warning before it strikes."

Once the plan is completed, Annesdale Snowden plans on having a mock emergency so that residents can work on triage, search and rescue, and command and leadership hierarchies.

None of this is cheap, Randolph says. "We are working with the South Memphis Alliance to find funding for the plan. With the funding -- $5,500 -- we will publish and distribute our plan and purchase official CERT equipment and 10-mile-radius radios for our emergency-response team.

"We are looking for funding anywhere we can find it," Randolph adds. "Our neighborhood association is over 30 years old and has the ability to accept and track money."

Randolph has been encouraging his neighbors to attend the ongoing CERT training. That extends to his neighbors across the city and county:

"It's free," he says. "It just costs you a few hours of your time."

Another historic neighborhood in Memphis is telling itself to clean up! The Evergreen Historic District is celebrating a "CommUnity Clean-Up, Paint-Up, Fix-Up" on Saturday, March 24th. The concept came from Evergreen resident Don Walker, who, last August, got his immediate neighbors near McNeil and Stonewall to tidy up an alley and their yards.

The success of that plan encouraged Walker to take the concept to the whole neighborhood.

So, what is it Evergreen residents are doing to spruce up their lots? Whatever they can.

Suggestions from organizers range from mowing the yard and picking up trash to trimming or planting new trees, from repairing gutters, shutters, and fences to painting the house or garage. Improved curb appeal, it is hoped, will draw together an already tight community and make the neighborhood safer.

Attractive fences make happy neighbors.

For more information, including volunteer opportunities, go to evergreendistrict.org/cleanup.htm. ■ -- GA

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