The NBA’s postseason, in which the Memphis Grizzlies now figure prominently, is a chance to look at the larger season we are in after emerging from a stubborn winter.
Spring finds us emerging from a recession – the likes of which many of us have never seen – with more confidence than the tentative steps taken and taken back as the economic downturn held on just as stubbornly as the winter did.
But housing starts nationally cleared 1 million in March. Local economic development efforts at the lowest moments of the recession have shown tangible results with this month’s formal opening of the Mitsubishi plant in southwest Memphis. The nearby Electrolux plant expects to begin turning out its first ovens and stoves next month.
The redevelopment of the Chisca hotel on South Main into apartments is about to begin.
Overton Square’s rebirth is apparent and with it, nearby Cooper-Young still has the kind of crowds that make a parking garage there a necessity as well.
The Broad Avenue arts district’s coming connection to the east end of Overton Park will be the next chapter in that district’s rapid development. Meanwhile, in the park itself the reopening on the Rainbow Lake area by the Overton Park Conservancy is moving toward a June date.
In Whitehaven, there is at last work underway on streetscape improvements at Brooks Road and Elvis Presley Boulevard that will move south to Shelby Drive over several years.
Our civic garden is blooming after much hard work on a lot of fronts. And as we enjoy what has grown, we will hopefully see other possibilities where there haven’t been any for quite a while.
The point is, don’t just admire what you see happening around you in this spring into summer and assume we are over some kind of hump with blue skies and warm breezes ahead as far as the eye can see.
What you see happening had many false starts and moments of doubt. And there will be more challenges to come than the Clippers.
We seem to know that now. And what we are growing is no longer something to impress visitors or anyone who has ever turned their head for a moment at the mention of the word Memphis. We are about improving and changing the places we live for ourselves.
There is still an open invitation to join us. But these days we are quicker to tell our young people that we want this to be a place they return to if they leave for college or even a first job.
That is still very much a work in progress away from the sunny days and busy sidewalks and greenlines and storefront windows aglow with new businesses. Our continual renewal is as much about those private moments as it is being part of the big crowds and keeping score for next season.