MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thursday Mayor Jim Strickland delivered a virtual State of the City address from inside one of the city’s largest investments, the newly renovated Renasant Convention Center.
Strickland’s nearly 40-minute speech focused on the pandemic, a multi-million dollar investment in various neighborhoods and the city’s violent crime problem.
“For me personally, it’s been one of the most frustrating and challenging obstacles I’ve faced during my time as Mayor,” said Strickland.
With a record-breaking year in homicides in 2020, the Mayor is literally shining a light on the problem.
Strickland said in a couple of weeks the city plans to convert all 84,000 street lights in the city to LED bulbs.
“No longer will criminals have safe harbor to operate under cover of darkness,” said Strickland.
The mayor also announced a new initiative called “The Group Violence Intervention Program” which will be led by former Juvenile court Clerk Joy Touliatos.
The initiative plans to use evidence-based practices focused on outreach for those known to commit crimes.
“At its core, it’s a collaboration between innovative policing and focused deterrence work,” said Strickland.
Strickland said the pandemic has affected the city’s “momentum”, but despite the setbacks, he also said the city is ready to put the city’s massive Memphis 3.0 Plan into action.
Thanks in part to a low-interest-rate environment for bonds, Strickland announced a 200 million dollar investment in neighborhoods called “Project Accelerate Memphis Invest in Neighborhoods”.
The 200 million dollar investment breaks down into three categories.
75 million will go towards infrastructure for things like broadband and housing.
75 million dollars will be directed towards parks.
50 million will help revitalize city assets such as Autozone park, Fed-Ex Forum and the Historic Old Melrose building.
The city plans to spend 10 million dollars for a state of the art library branch and genealogy center in the blighted Orange Mound building.