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The Memphis Rundown

Strickland's budget, Zambezi River Hippo Camp, Shelby Farms development, and more.



Here's what you need to know to stay in the know.

• Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland presented his first budget to the Memphis City Council last week, a budget that focused on public safety, paving, pensions, and no new taxes.

Slightly higher tax revenues are projected for the year, so Strickland's $667 million budget is about $9 million bigger than last year's budget. It contains pay raises for police officers and firefighters, two new police academy classes, and hiring 30 part-time 911 dispatchers.

His budget plan also pumps an extra $4 million into the city's pension plan for a total of $54 million over the next 12 months. Also, $16.5 million could go to paving streets this year.

Strickland's budget has money for new police radios ($85 million over the next three years), $6 million for the South City project, $7.5 million for the Memphis Area Transit Authority, and money for extending wireless internet to community centers, new SkyCop cameras, and more.


• The Memphis City Council approved a massive, $200 million development north of Shelby Farms Park last week in a move that frustrated many area residents.

Parkside at Shelby Farms would sit on about 55 acres at the corner of Whitten and Mullins Station. It would include high-rise apartment buildings, many smaller, "garden style" apartment buildings, a swimming pool, a clubhouse, and thousands of square feet for retail and office space.

The property was zoned only for single-family homes. But the city council changed that to allow the project to go through, despite more than an hour of pleas from neighbors to stop the project. Those neighbors worry that the project will disrupt their quiet community and drive property values down.

• A new gravel path appeared last week on the Greensward at Overton Park, and someone vandalized the Memphis Zoo sign over the weekend.

The path angered park advocates, who worried the path signaled the zoo's long-term use of the space for overflow parking. Zoo officials said they simply "re-graveled" the path after days of heavy rains.

Red paint was splashed on the Overton Park sign at Sam Cooper and East Parkway, and a vandal scrawled the word "no" over the zoo's logo. The sign was cleaned up Saturday by a park advocate.

• The Memphis Zoo gave media tours of its new Zambezi River Hippo Camp. The $22 million exhibit will open soon and is the first new exhibit since Teton Trek opened in 2009.

• Ikea gave the media a peek at the construction of its Memphis store on Germantown Parkway this week. The store is slated to open this fall.

• Parking spots will become mini parks this week "in a city where public parks are sometimes turned into parking lots."

Park(ing) Day commences Thursday in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute's RegionSmart planning summit. Six parking spaces in front of the Orpheum Theatre will become free, family-friendly micro-parks.

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