Group awarded $10K grant to help fund community projects in Orange Mound

Group awarded $10K grant to help fund community projects in Orange Mound

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - From newly awarded grants to new facilities, the Historic Orange Mound community is seeing a lot of growth and development.

"We're grateful to be able to have the capacity now to fund the projects and the great ideas that our residents come up with," said Britney Thornton, founder of JUICE Orange Mound.

Juice Orange Mound is a non-profit organization that aims to reclaim the self-sufficiency and prestige of Historic Orange Mound.

The group recently purchased the old Evensky's Big and Tall shop on Park Avenue which will soon be turned into a small business incubator for Orange Mound Residents.

Wednesday, the group was awarded a $10,000 grant from ADT Cares.

Thornton says the money will help fund several community projects.

"To see money start to flow into resident-based initiatives, it's just really exciting, it's empowering," she said.

Ebonye Reed works with ADT and said she's honored to help out the Orange Mound Community.

"Juice Orange Mound is at the heart of Memphis, and to be able to support a group that is highlighting the vibrant community that Orange Mound is, we just really wanted to be a part of that."

Just a few blocks away was another big event for the Orange Mound Community.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris signed a long-term 50-year lease between the Orange Mound Arts Council and the Shelby County Government.

“Orange Mound, as you know, is one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in the entire United States of America, and there is a lot of talent right here in this neighborhood,” Harris said.

Under the agreement - Shelby County will lease a once blighted, now renovated property to the Orange Mound Arts Council for free for the next 50 years.

“It means everything. This place is magical,” said Mary Mitchell who has lived in Orange Mound her entire life.

Mitchell says Orange Mound is more than just a community, but a "sacred place."

"This could not be a place that was demolished or blighted, but it must be something to carry on the rich legacy and the history of what took place in Orange Mound," Mitchell said.

The property will be used to expand creative arts options in the Orange Mound community in which the Shelby County Government also donated art supplies for kids and creative programming.

Thornton says she hopes this is the first of many new grants and developments for "The Mound."

“We’re super excited to continue to show people that Orange Mound isn’t just a place for some people to engage, it’s a place that has a lot of viability,” Thornton said.

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