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VOL. 130 | NO. 83 | Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Making Memphis Clean by 2019

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Editor’s Note: This column will appear weekly throughout April in honor of Memphis and Shelby County’s Sustainability Month.

When guests are expected, one of the first things we do is clean up our home. We want our home to feel safe, warm and inviting. After all, our home directly reflects what we think about ourselves, and how others formulate their opinions about us.

It’s especially important that we make a great impression on our first time guests. If we get it wrong, we set the tone and it is nearly impossible to reverse the effects. We have all been there and experienced giving or receiving a bad first impression.

We have to think about our larger, community-wide home – Memphis – in the same way. Every Memphian deserves a clean home. That’s why the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle created Memphis Clean by 2019 as its newest moon mission.

The great news is that we’ve already accomplished this goal before! In the 1940s, Memphis was named the cleanest city in the state from 1940-1946 and then above that, in 1948-1951 received yearly awards for the “Nation’s Cleanest City.” The goal of Memphis Clean by 2019 is to reclaim that title before our city’s bicentennial in 2019 with an unprecedented effort to rid Memphis of trash and blight.

Why are we doing this?

Foremost to help reaffirm the choice we have all made to make Memphis our home. Taking care of our public spaces promotes improvement in health and safety goals for our city. And taking responsibility for the appearance of our city instills a sense of civic pride in our citizens.

The cleanliness of our city also is directly tied to economic growth. Commercial and residential areas free from blight and trash attract new businesses and talent to the area, creating jobs and retaining the talented citizens we already have.

The Chairman’s Circle has reached out and begun to collaborate with organizations already trying to tackle these issues. Together, we are beginning to optimize our efforts by developing a comprehensive strategy to achieve our goals.

Currently, there are three task forces formed to work on this project: education and awareness, blight removal, and trash removal.

We have always wanted to pursue a moon mission that could engage every citizen in our community – one that every Memphian could see, touch and participate in. Memphis Clean by 2019 is that moon mission. Every Memphian deserves a clean neighborhood and a clean city. Working together we can reclaim the crown of America’s cleanest city!

Spence Wilson Jr. is Principal for the Kemmons Wilson Cos. and Co-Chair of the Memphis Clean by 2019 Moon Mission of the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle.

PROPERTY SALES 79 321 2,586
MORTGAGES 90 426 3,033
BUILDING PERMITS 146 789 6,857
BANKRUPTCIES 36 212 1,999