If Memphis leaders do nothing, the city’s population will grow at less than 1 percent each year for the next 20 years.
That’s a key finding from those working on the Memphis 3.0 plan, the first comprehensive plan for Memphis in years. Leaders hope to have the plan complete by 2019, the city’s 200th birthday, which will begin its third century of existence. (So, Memphis 3.0. Get it?)
Memphis 3.0 administrator Ashley Cash said the population growth figure isn’t bad news, exactly, but it’s not great news, either.
“The positive of that is that we’re not declining in population,” Cash said. “We’re not projected to lose population. But that’s not really anything you want on a billboard. You want to figure out how to change that.”
Cash and her team have spent months gathering data about the city and asking Memphians what they think. The team is over that first hump of the planning process, which Cash called the “inventory and analysis” phase. It was, basically, taking stock of the people and resources of the city.
Another major finding, Cash said, was that, again, if leaders do nothing, the city’s major market potential will lie up and down the Poplar corridor and along Germantown Parkway. Again, Cash said the finding wasn’t exactly bad news but she said she hopes to take closer look around Memphis to, maybe, identify other areas for growth.
“Where are some catalytic investments already happening that we can build off of to not leave the future of our city to the whim of the market,” Cash said.
The public told the Memphis 3.0 team, in a series of public events last year, that one of the biggest challenges in the city was transportation. Memphis is 325 square miles, Cash said, and she said she understood that makes for a huge challenge for the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA).
“On the other side of that, though, people are saying we can’t get to where we need to,” Cash said. “It’s not very reliable or efficient. We’d, perhaps, use it more if we could make some changes or have some other options.”
The Memphis 3.0 team will begin to present its findings to citizens in a series of public events next week. Here are the details on those “Show and Tell” events:
• Thursday, June 22, 5:30pm-7:00pm
• Tuesday, June 27, 5:30pm-7:00pm
• Thursday, June 29, 5:30pm-7:00pm
For more information, visit the Memphis 3.0 website