VOL. 8 | NO. 12 | Saturday, March 14, 2015
Wharton Wants to Move Uptown and Highland Row Agency To EDGE
By Bill Dries
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told City Council members in a Friday, March 13, letter that he wants to move the agency governing the Uptown and Highland Row redevelopment effort to the Economic Development Growth Engine – also known as EDGE – from the city-county Office of Planning and Development.
The Community Redevelopment Agency promotes inner city redevelopment and with that has the ability to buy and sell properties in the two areas as well as access to one of three tax increment financing state statutes.
The letter to council chairman Myron Lowery from Wharton says he and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell will be making the proposal to the council and Shelby County Commission that would also involve changes to the EDGE board. EDGE is a joint city-county entity.
Wharton indicated the council will probably see his specific proposal this month or next month with a request for a vote by the council.
If the CRA becomes part of EDGE, some state laws would also have to be amended to account for the larger EDGE board that would replace the existing CRA board. Those changes would also allow the agency to access other tax increment financing statutes instead of being limited to just one as a way of financing projects.
Wharton said he and Luttrell are seeking the change because administrative support for the agency from the Office of Planning and Development is currently one full-time employee.
“(OPD) Director (Rick) Copeland is very supportive of this proposal,” Wharton wrote, “believing the CRA needs to be incorporated within a broader economic development agency whose staff can make better use of the CRA’s abilities.”