Heart of the City by Friends of the Fairgrounds
Memphis ghostwriter | Contributor
22
MAY, 2017
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I have never been present at any sort of community focused event before. Due in part to not knowing where to start as well as being unsure how to approach an event of that type. Under the guise of JusyMyMemphis I attended “Heart of the City“.
This was also the first time Friends of the Fairgrounds branched out to the city, as a whole, for a community rally. Getting an information filled tour of undergoing construction for the Memphis Grand Carousel was a cool bonus. Throughout the event, I met Roy Barnes, Jim Minervini, Mayor Hackett and his wife, and most importantly a couple volunteers and citizens who were just trying to get connected with what was going on with their community and give their two cents.
When we build, we build for our the future. – Anonymous
After a couple introductions and icebreaker exercises, the presentations began. Ashley Cash (Memphis 3.0) spoke on describing the pillars for a comprehensive plan for the city. Without going into too much detail: Connectivity, Livability, Sustainability, and Opportunity were the main points from where changes and improvements were being developed for our city. Being unfamiliar, I was surprised there was a long-term vision for our #AmazingCity. Innovate Memphis was represented by Justin Entzminger. I learned, of many ideas brought up, that calling 9-1-1 can be very inefficient when you don’t actually have an emergency. The cost to Memphis is, on average, $20 million annually due to overuse or misuse of 9-1-1.
“My first taste of cotton candy was at the Coliseum” – Roy Barnes
Remain calm and call the non-emergency number, but don’t feel bad. A lot of people in the audience volunteered stories of times where they did not know they should have dialed the non-emergency number. Innovate Memphis is working on a more efficient protocol to help sort out and prioritize emergency events to focus on saving more lives. I don’t know what types of experiences the readers may have with this sort of community event but it was not what I expected as far as participation.

The overall tone of the rally was that the fairgrounds needed to move into the future with the city. It was, in its prime, the epicenter of the community. Where everyone went to have a good time with family. The surrounding neighborhoods now seem to have left it in the past. Friends of the Fairgrounds have no intent to allow such great part of the city’s history, simply become a memory. It should be a part of memories to be made in the coming generations.

“It should be like Central Park. People should come there and get supercharged with public safety, public health, and economic opportunity. All of those things should go out to the furthest corners of the region. Right now, the fairgrounds is a parking lot.” – John Minervini
I spent a majority of the time listening to ideas and questions that were very organically formed within the smaller groups. People were here brainstorming ideas and expressing concerns that struck a note with them in their lives. The volunteers were great, they brought the energy needed to bring out the quiet voices in each group as well as help refine thoughts that were readily being bounced around. It was very clear, there were passionate people with the genuine sense of wanting to solve the problems we see on the day to day within our community. The HEART of the City is in the right hands.
“There’s life and vitality here. It doesn’t have to all be in the suburbs, it is in the city itself” – Jimmy Rout
memphis ghostwriter

memphis ghostwriter

Friendly nieghborhood Mempian

Proud to be a Memphian but I prefer to stay out  of the spotlights. My goal is to motivate others to do GOOD for their communities.
There are people working on creating opportunities, protecting all that is Memphis, spreading the idea that we are in fact a community, and it is going to take a community to make any sort of meaningful change come to life. They are good people and they are out there. Whether it be in the energetic and spirited voices of John Minervini, the soft-spoken ideas from a member of a volunteer group, anyone can do GOOD by helping Memphis #BeAmazing and #PoweredbyCommunity.
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