It was announced today that Eric Robertson will leave his current position as chief administrative officer (CAO) of the Memphis Center City Commission to lead a new effort designed to help foster the revitalization of Memphis neighborhoods. The announcement was made by members of a steering committee that have been responsible for the creation of the plan, Greater Memphis Neighborhood: A Blueprint for Revitalization, over the past two years, including representatives from The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Bank of America, City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development, Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, and Community Development Council of Greater Memphis, which represents local community development corporations.
“The overarching goal of Greater Memphis Neighborhoods is to bring the public, private, and nonprofit sectors together around a single plan for neighborhood revitalization,” said Robert Fockler, president of Community Foundation, and Jan Young, executive director of Assisi Foundation, in a joint statement. “We hope that the result will be a more coordinated approach to neighborhood redevelopment and quite frankly, more funding for that from both inside and outside Memphis.” Bank of America Memphis market president Michael Frick also stated his strong support for the plan, noting that both the local bank and the national Bank of America Foundation have contributed funding to its implementation. “Revitalizing Memphis neighborhoods will require full participation from all segments of the community – including government, corporate, and nonprofit partners,” Mr. Frick said. “Bank of America supports the efforts of the GMN team, and is happy to participate in the plan to create a brighter future for the citizens of Memphis.”
According to Robert Lipscomb, director of the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development and executive director of Memphis Housing Authority, the GMN plan will build upon and increase the impact of the city’s current neighborhood revitalization programs. “We’re bringing everyone together around a shared vision for Memphis neighborhoods,” he said.
Before joining the Center City Commission three years ago Mr. Robertson led housing and economic development programs at Lemoyne Owen College CDC. His extensive involvement in the community includes serving on the boards of Leadership Memphis, Memphis in May, Memphis Regional Design Center, and Soulsville Foundation, among others.
“The Greater Memphis Neighborhoods plan is a great blend of all the things I care deeply about – city building through community, economic, and human capital development,” says Mr. Robertson. “This initiative is a tremendous opportunity to effectuate transformational change throughout our city. To truly make us a City of Choice we must have Neighborhoods of Choice.
The GMN plan was developed with extensive input from
stakeholders – from community associations to private sector developers to city
and county staff and elected officials – in addition to a comprehensive needs
assessment, existing neighborhood conditions report, and an inventory of
organizations working in neighborhood revitalization. Those steps were followed
by the development of a neighborhood redevelopment vision, and goals in five
areas: building better relationships; improving economic and residential
vitality; improving quality of life; developing neighborhoods plans; and
improving the capacity of the CDC industry. The final GMN plan includes a
detailed work plan and five-year time line, encompassing 51 action items in the
five goal areas.