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Welcome, USL: Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, it’s worth taking note of what happened last Monday, when we welcomed a United Soccer League franchise that will start play at AutoZone Park in 2019.
For one, we just got another professional sports team! And especially given the growing interest in soccer, we think the future is bright for the local USL club.
But more than that, it’s a good financial move for the City of Memphis. Remember a few years ago, when the City bought AutoZone Park in a move that would secure the future of the Redbirds? The revenue at the park pays our debt on that purchase.
Adding pro soccer to the list of events at AutoZone Park, which means another 14 or so weekend days of activation, only means more ability for us to pay that debt. It’s a great example of how we look to engineer deals like this to prioritize general fund dollars to go toward core city services.
Thanks to Peter Freund, Craig Unger and their staff for continuing to inject new life and energy into such a critical asset not just for Downtown Memphis, but for the entire region.
Addressing the opioid crisis: I joined Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell this week at an event bringing awareness to the opioid crisis, and I’m supportive of the leadership that Councilman Edmund Ford Jr. is providing on this issue on the City Council.
To underscore how much this problem has increased in such a short time, I wanted to share some data from our Memphis Fire Emergency Medical Services team.
In 2014, MFD administered 1,070 doses of Narcan — a medication often used to treat an opioid overdose. In 2017, MFD administered 2,447 doses. Yes, that’s a 129 percent increase in just three years. It underscores just how serious this problem is, and why governments at all levels are working together to combat it. Thanks to Mayor Luttrell and the Shelby County Health Department in leading the response to this outside of law enforcement.
Following through on our plan: Our partners at Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich’s office won a conviction this week in a 2016 aggravated robbery in Frayser. And while I wouldn’t normally point out a case like this, I wanted to let you know that it came from the DA’s Old Allen Community Prosecution Unit (OA7), which is the community prosecution model generated from the most recent Operation: Safe Community crime reduction plan from the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission.
Often, we announce new things and don’t do a good enough job of following up on the successes. So I wanted to let you know that this component of the Crime Commission’s crime plan is paying dividends.
Improving 911: We’ve shared our success in reducing 911 answer times many times in this space. This week, we took another step toward securing the future of that important service delivery: We opened a new 911 call center on Flicker Street. This furthers the ability of our hard-working call-takers to answer your most important call as quickly as possible. It’s another reinvestment in core city services, and we appreciate the Shelby County 911 Board for funding this facility.
Speaking of reinvestment: I’ll be delivering our State of the City speech Tuesday, and the theme will be how we’re prioritizing the reinvestment in our city to continue to spur economic development and population growth in the long run. I’ll share the text of my remarks in a special email Tuesday afternoon.
Honoring Dr. King: In this important year in the life of Memphis — the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death in our city — I urge everyone to spend Monday reflecting on Dr. King’s call to us and his legacy.
Shortly after I was sworn in, I charged our team with ensuring the City of Memphis properly commemorated Dr. King and the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike. These plans are coming together, and I’m excited. (I’m also grateful for all the work City employees have done to make it happen — including the Engineering employees who have worked weekends and in freezing cold to hang some 300 banners commemorating MLK50.) We’ll be sharing more Monday about all we’re doing.