With I-269 looming on the horizon, the Coalition for Livable Communities wants citizens to be in the loop.
The CLC will host a community forum about the new super beltway, an interstate that will stretch to Millington, out to the Shelby and Fayette county line and down into Mississippi.
"These outer loops can suck resources out of existing neighborhoods," says CLC program manager Sarah Newstok. "We know the project is happening. Let's make it beneficial for our region, not just for economic development along the corridor."
It might be difficult for people living in the city's core to understand how the future I-269 affects them, but the local population isn't growing. It's spreading out.
"Any resources spent farther out on the I-269 corridor are resources that could have been spent where people are living now," Newstok says.
The interstate may be funded with federal dollars, but area roads and interchanges linking with it will be funded locally. These types of developments also have a tendency to rob retail investment from older neighborhoods.
"We need to have a plan in place where development is done in a sustainable manner, and we're not creating the same thing at each intersection along the way," forum panelist Les Binkley of Boyle Investment says.
Though Boyle is a developer, Binkley says the company shares the same interests as community groups. "We want to see our developments thrive and increase in value, not just capture a fleeting market that is there temporarily," he says.
The forum is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 21st, at Shelby Farms' main lodge. It's free, but a reservation is required and can be made by e-mailing email@example.com.