VOL. 8 | NO. 29 | Saturday, July 11, 2015
Local Green News Piles Up, From Shelby Farms to CBU
Chelsea Avenue Floodwall Becomes ‘Permission Wall’: The city’s renaissance of murals is taking a different form on the section of North Memphis floodwalls that are a border of sorts for the still developing Chelsea Greenline.
It’s called a “permission wall” for graffiti artists to display their art.
The daylong “Paint Memphis” event July 18 will highlight the work of more than 70 artists along the Chelsea Greenline west of North Evergreen Street.
The gathering will include food trucks and family-friendly activities along the Chelsea Greenline’s floodwall, which stretches about a third of a mile. The goal is to promote the floodwall as a canvas for graffiti artists, with Paint Memphis serving as a monitor of the art and keeping the area free of litter.
The floodwall will get a primer coat with 35 gallons of paint and paint sprayers donated by The Home Depot, a festival sponsor. Home Depot employees also will volunteer time to help paint the wall.
The UrbanArt Commission and the Greater Memphis Greenline got city and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permission for the artwork.
“Giving these artists a palette, time and materials can help them to find a safe and legal space to showcase their talents,” said Karen Golightly, a coordinator of the Paint Memphis event. “Graffiti is the most prominent form of public art.”
The floodwalls mark a trailhead on the Greater Memphis Greenline. In March a group of artists funded by AutoZone painted the first panel on the flood wall at the corner of North Evergreen Street and Chelsea Avenue.
The Chelsea Greenline itself is a 2.5-mile section of unused rail right of way that is scheduled to open in 2017 as a pedestrian and bicycle link that includes Midtown, New Chicago and Uptown. It will connect with the Wolf River Greenway and the Mississippi River Trail.
– Bill Dries
Shelby Farms Greenline Extension Contract Funded
Wagner General Contractors Inc. has been awarded the $1.5 million county government contract for the eastern expansion of the Shelby Farms Greenline.
Shelby County Commissioners approved the contract June 22 that will extend the greenline from its eastern terminus in Shelby Farms Park on Mullins Station Road, across Germantown Parkway and further east to the old Cordova Train Station, which will be another trailhead.
The bulk of the $1.5 million in funding comes from a federal grant passed through state government and another separate state grant for a total of $1.2 million.
Private donors contributed $140,000, and county government funded the remaining $162,000.
– Bill Dries
Wolf River Greenway Launches Capital Campaign
The Wolf River Conservancy already has raised $23 million of its $40 million capital campaign to expand the Wolf River Greenway by 18 miles in Shelby County.
The campaign comes after a year of behind-the-scenes planning and fundraising with a groundbreaking for the expansion trailhead tentatively set for the late fall.
The existing 2.6 miles of the Greenway would be joined by a new alignment to the north that would take the pedestrian and bicycle path through Raleigh and Frayser, running close by the Wolf River.
That includes a connection to Raleigh’s Kennedy Park, where a major transformation is planned.
Other trailhead stops would include Douglass Park, Rodney Baber Park and a proposed “Confluence Park” on Mud Island’s northernmost end as well as a proposed Epping Way Nature Center in Raleigh. Trailheads along the greenway will have a variety of amenities, including restrooms, drinking fountains, maps, picnic tables and, in some cases, playgrounds.
– Bill Dries
CBU’s Kenrick Hall Recycled
The 76-year-old Kenrick Hall on the campus of Christian Brothers University will not see a 77th year.
But the classroom building will live on through recycling after its demolition in June.
Work crews removed Kenrick Hall’s cupola June 15 for preservation. It was carefully braced and lifted off the roof by workers with Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. for repurposing in a future project.
Woodland Tree Service also collected wood materials from the building and a tulip poplar tree near the hall to recycle as furniture.
The circa-1939 building is giving way to a new school of the arts to be named for Rosa Deal, Christian Brother’s first woman faculty member.
– Bill Dries
MLGW Tops List for Lowest Winter Bills
Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division tops a new list for the lowest combined winter residential bill among 30 cities.
It is the third consecutive year the utility’s comparison has put it at the top for the lowest bill.
MLGW began tracking the rates in 1991.
The winter 2015 bill for the four services offered by MLGW came in at $251.06 a month. That compares to $603.23 a month in Boston.
Among cities in Tennessee in the rankings, Jackson came in 12th with a monthly winter bill of $352.87 and Chattanooga 14th at $357.18. Nashville was 20th in the ranking with a $401.83 monthly bill and Knoxville’s winter bill of $450.45 was 24th on the listing.
– Bill Dries
Local Restaurants 'Certified' for Healthful Approach
Some of the city’s best known restaurant brands are in the first class of food service businesses recognized for their environmental stewardship and approach to holistic nutrition.
Through a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Health and the United States Healthful Food Council, Eat REAL Tennessee has announced the first REAL-certified establishments in Memphis.
Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership is a growing national program.
Memphis’ inaugural class of REAL-certified food service establishments can be found throughout the city and include: Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Cafe Eclectic, City Market, The Farmer, Fuel Cafe, Hog & Hominy, Lettuce Eat Salad Co., McEwen’s, Porcellino’s, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, Trolley Stop Market, Tsunami and Two Vegan Sistas.
“Memphis is a city rich in local food culture and community, and these eating establishments are helping shift the environment towards a more healthful and sustainable model,” said Eat REAL Tennessee project manager Nikkole Turner.
Eat REAL Tennessee is a statewide initiative supported through a grant from the Tennessee Health Department as part of an innovative approach to preventing diabetes and obesity across the state. The program also serves as a community outreach platform, engaging and educating the public on nutrition and healthy dietary choices. Utilizing the points-based REAL Index, independent registered dietitians conduct an assessment of menu offerings and overall nutrition and sustainability practices.
Establishments are credited with points across a range of criteria such as the use of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy preparation methods, moderate portion sizes, unsweetened beverages, healthy children’s options and sustainable sourcing. Those that satisfy the necessary requirements are awarded and recognized as “REAL Certified.” The USHFC has partnered with the Memphis Business Group on Health and certified its annual awards luncheon this year at Rhodes College.
The USHFC is partnering with FITKids, a program of the University of Memphis, to help Memphians find healthy, family friendly dining establishments through its website and mobile app.
– Don Wade
Tennessee Wildlife Agency Promotes Wildflowers to Save Monarchs
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is offering residents a way to help save monarch butterflies.
The Save the Monarchs campaign will supply seeds for native wildflower gardens to any individual or group that wishes to plant them. Each seed packet – from the Roundstone Native Seed Co. – covers about 15 feet with a mix of native, nectar-producing plants that includes milkweeds, the food source of monarch larvae.
According to the agency, monarch populations have declined more than 90 percent in just the past 20 years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a status review under the Endangered Species Act.
Anyone interested in receiving packets should call the TWRA’s Pandy English at 615-781-6643.
– The Associated Press