Last fall, the City of Memphis began working on a comprehensive plan for its future, called Memphis 3.0. The plan seeks to improve infrastructure and education, reduce poverty levels, and address economic disparity.
This long-term initiative by the Office of Comprehensive Planning is the first of its kind in thirty-six years. Organizers hope to keep the process open to the public and transparent about its goals and outcomes.
Not all the public feedback has been positive, as evidenced by a recent public forum at the Stax Museum. Some at the meeting were concerned about gentrification and the Police Department. Another person accused officials of focusing solely on upper and middle class needs.
Ashley Cash, administrator for the Office of Comprehensive Planning, said that this type of feedback is emblematic of a larger struggle: the balance between satisfying the current population and attracting new people to the city.
"How do these high-level aspirations hit the neighborhood level?" Cash asked. "(There are) a lot of questions about how are we thinking about protecting existing residents and supporting existing communities, which I thought was great. And then some questions that kind of pushed and challenged us to say, well who are you talking to? Are you talking to the same folks? Are you talking only to people who earn this much money? And those certain things.”
Organizers should have a completed plan by February of 2019, just in time for Memphis’ 200th birthday.