Dear Mayor Wharton and Members of the Memphis City Council,
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, the City of Memphis’ suburban annexation habit is the ideal illustration. Appropriating land farther and farther away from Memphis’ traditional urban core over the last fifty years has dramatically expanded the city’s physical footprint while its population dwindled.
The results is a downward spiral that makes our parks and neighborhoods more dangerous, dirty, and blighted. Our streets, public facilities, and other crucial infrastructure literally crumble for lack of attention.
We need you to take strong and immediate steps to repair and repopulate our older core city neighborhoods. The Crosstown Development Project can do exactly that. The renovation of the iconic Sears Crosstown building, located between Midtown and Downtown, will create 875 new jobs that will add $37 million in wages into our economy every year.
The building itself will be home to health clinics, wellness facilities, a free public high school, and numerous creative resources. It will also house 240 apartments in a range of market values, boosting the population of this deeply disinvested neighborhood by hundreds of residents.
If the City of Memphis agrees to a $15 million investment – less than 10% of the total redevelopment cost – to address some crucial blight abatement and infrastructure needs, over $150 million in private capital stands ready to begin construction on the Sears building before the end of the year.
Our community needs these good jobs. This neighborhood needs the healthcare, educational, and creative resources that the building will provide. Our city needs to transform this dangerous, derelict symbol of blight into a vibrant, reborn vertical urban village that will serve and benefit all Memphians.
Please let me know that I can count on your support. Thank you,