Shopping center groundbreaking brings more than food, gives hope

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A major project in Binghampton is bringing more than groceries and jobs with it; the groundbreaking provides hope to a community.

The community is using hope to turn itself around and the groundbreaking of a $6.6 million dollar project is a reflection of that effort.

"We need healing from the violence which plagues our communities, we need healing from the sense of hopelessness which we face on a daily basis," Zion Temple COGIC pastor Rosman Randle said.

The groundbreaking Wednesday afternoon at the corner of Sam Cooper Boulevard and Tillman Street has been more than a decade in the making.

"It's been an incredible journey and the neighborhood has been patient," Binghampton Development Corporation officer Robert Montague said.

The $6.6 million dollar project is funded through donations, financing, and even $300,000 in city funds. BDC calls it a game changer for a part of Memphis with no grocery stores nearby, known as a food desert.

"This is a significant positive change for the neighborhood, it triggers hope for the neighborhood," BDC Executive Director Noah Gray said.

The 33,000 square foot retail center will be anchored by Save-A-Lot and a Dollar Tree, with 7,200 square feet in unused retail space.

"We absolutely believe this will catalyze new investment and continue to improve the quality of life for residents in the Binghampton neighborhood," Gray said.

The road here didn't come easy. Some residents gave up their homes for the project. The development even faced a neighborhood vote.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said it is urban progress that is needed city wide.

"What we need to do is partner with these non-profits, these development corporations, these foundations in Memphis and grow this. We don't wait it to just be in Binghampton," Strickland said.

But, in a part of town with some publicized problems, Wednesday's groundbreaking is a bright spot and a reminder that change is possible.

"It's a great day in Binghampton. We've got to look at what's going on around us," Lisa Hart said.

Officials said the shopping center should be open by year's end.

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