Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland unveiled Friday two strategic planning processes now underway that will focus on the future of Downtown Memphis (maybe using TDZ funds) and Memphis at large.
In his Weekly Update, Strickland said that with the city’s budget in hand, “it’s time to take another step,” which is “building our future."
“I have authorized a process to envision the best and most responsible outcome in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remake a large part of our Downtown, all without using a single cent of your property tax dollars,” Strickland said.
He said the planning process will be centered in The Pinch District, work in lockstep with the expansion plans of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and include the Riverfront, Mud Island, and the Cook Convention Center.
“You may have thought of all of those components independently,” Strickland said. “We haven’t. We view them as part of a major opportunity for a conceptual approach that could dramatically reshape a major gateway to our city.”
To get there, Strickland said he wants to use the Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) status granted by the state (largely for the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid project). TDZ funds divert state tax dollars to pay for projects in the zone.
Strickland said his team is examining “the financial capacity of the TDZ to determine what’s possible.”
Also, Strickland promised that in the near future, Memphians will hear about his plans to develop a comprehensive plan for the city. He said the city hasn’t had such a plan since 1981.
“The comprehensive planning process will draw in deep input from all corners of our city to envision plans for every community,” Strickland said. “By weaving together many of the existing initiatives underway in our city with a bold, common vision for growth and prosperity, neighborhood improvement, connectivity, quality of life and opportunity, this comprehensive plan has the potential to transform our entire city for generations to come.”