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VOL. 131 | NO. 127 | Monday, June 27, 2016

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Pinch Plans, Beyond the Basics and the Golden Greek

By Bill Dries

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The future of the Pinch District looks to be Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s first venture beyond being “brilliant at the basics.”

We got our best look yet at a comprehensive plan for the Pinch last week at a public meeting on the coordinated plan that is still taking shape. The plan is, in a word – up.

Want more than a word? The plan so far is being compared to Amazon City – Amazon’s urban campus in Seattle.

The day after the public meeting, Strickland emphasized that the Pinch plan – can we find a new name for this before we try to rename Mud Island? – will depend heavily on expanding Downtown’s Tourism Development Zone and using part of the revenue to finance it.

And Strickland said he considers St. Jude, the convention center and Mud Island to be connected in how each should be developed.

In his weekly email update Friday, Strickland also announced that his administration is embarking on a long-range plan. This means that during a busy first six months in office, Strickland is starting to feel like he has the foundation in place for the “brilliant at the basics” approach that got him elected.

There are still some pieces of that to fall into place including the appointment of a permanent Memphis Police Director. But with the city council’s approval of his first operating budget in the smoothest budget season at City Hall in quite a while, Strickland has the basics on a trajectory he wants them on.

But Strickland, like all of his predecessors in the mayor’s office, is seeking to capitalize on momentum from ServiceMaster’s relocation Downtown to a lower unemployment rate.

The mayor’s office and all of City Hall can have an impact on those kinds of developments. But the timing is often something City Hall has to be prepared to work with when it arises and have options ready to go.

The comprehensive plan Strickland envisions is a two-year process “that will lead to a comprehensive plan for the future of Memphis.”

For the more immediate future, at the end of this week Memphians will enter a new era. The city where you can turn right on red; the city that features liquor by the drink is about to get (drum roll please) -- wine in grocery stores. That is WIGS in political shorthand. But some critics claim last minute amendments to the law reducing the square footage requirement for stores makes it closer to wine in food stores -- but WIFS isn't nearly as catchy. Make no mistake, there is lots of political shorthand involved in this which we run down in The Memphis News cover story by Madeline Faber.

If you’ve ever been to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music you have probably seen the map of the neighborhood around Stax and the location of where so many of the city’s musical influences -- Stax and non-Stax -- lived. This week, one of the points on that map is back in Environmental Court for what amounts to a day of reckoning. Aretha Franklin was born at 406 Lucy Avenue and for the first two years of her life lived there with her family before their move to Detroit. The shotgun house has been the object of restoration efforts in the past. But as we speak, the house has collapsing walls and a recent fire in the rear of the property may wind up being the death knell for it.

Some thoughts on Shelby Farms Park and what might have been from the Mid-South Greenprint Summit.

An angel investment group surfaces in the Broad Avenue Arts District.

Judge Joe Brown is on disability inactive status as a Tennessee attorney.

Amy Schumer booked for Oct. 14 at FedExForum.

The premiere of the Oprah Winfrey Network series “Greenleaf” generated the best ratings to date for a series on the cable network, according to Variety.

The series is centered on a Memphis mega-church and although it was done in Atlanta, there are a lot of very specific Memphis references.

For instance, the pastor of the church circles the wagons after a financial problem surfaces in the form of a notice in The Memphis Daily News.

Oprah knows everything.

I should also point out that if you watch the movie “The Firm” during the foot chase scene through Downtown between Wilford Brimley and Tom Cruise, it is apparent that Cruise’s character is trying to make it to The Daily News offices. But you don’t actually see our offices and he never really says that. But he’s just a block away. Where else would he be going?

Drew Holcomb brought his Full Moon Festival back to the Levitt Shell at Overton Park last Thursday while Brexit and the NBA draft were underway. He put out the word on Instagram that he would do a few acoustic tunes later at Gibson’s Donuts in East Memphis and even treat on the donuts.

The Instagram invitation drew hundreds to the small parking lot and owner Don DeWeese estimates Holcomb threw about six dozen donuts to the crowd from the roof.

Other Reading:

The New York Times on the passing of Michael Herr, author of one of the seminal books about the Vietnam War – “Dispatches”.

The Memphis News Almanac: Poplar Corridor traffic in 1986, Wilkins' surprise at the NAACP convention in Memphis and The Golden Greek at Hodges Field.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 87 87 7,836
MORTGAGES 108 108 9,307
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 8 1,366
BUILDING PERMITS 130 130 16,737
BANKRUPTCIES 55 55 5,461
BUSINESS LICENSES 32 32 2,980
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 47 47 3,297
MARRIAGE LICENSES 37 37 1,725

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