Locally, the Office of Government Relations serves as the liaison between county and
city elected officials and agencies and the University of Memphis. We coordinate
infrastructure improvements in the campus vicinity, as well as work with the surrounding
neighborhood associations on problems like blight and crime. The University of Memphis,
through its many partnerships within the local community, focuses much of its research
on addressing the unique urban challenges facing the City of Memphis.
(from r to l): Sen. Beverly Marrero, Mayor AC Wharton, Rep. Mike Kernell, Rep. Barbara
Cooper, Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Mark Norris, President Shirley Raines, Rep. Mark White
Walker Avenue Streetscape
In 2012, the Office of Government Relations worked with the University Neighborhood
Development Corporation, area business owners and neighbors in securing a Tennessee
Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant to redevelop Walker Avenue. This grant
from the state will replace sidewalks, add a pedestrian plaza, adding bike lanes,benches
and more lighting to enhance a sense of place for the community.
Highland Row TIF
The Office of Government Relations, working with President Raines' office, our Business
and Finance office, and the University Neighborhood Development Corporation (UNDC),
helped secure Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the Poag McEwen Project on Highland.
In 2007, after 2 years of negotiations, the TIF passed both the Memphis City Council
and the Shelby County Commission. By qualifying for a TIF, the developer is allowed
to use bonds to finance infrastructure improvements based on new tax revenues generated
by the project.
“Highland Row” as the project has come to be known, is an exciting new mixed-use retail
and residential development located on the west side of Highland, directly across
from the U of M main campus. This urban-inspired environment will serve as the gateway
to the University of Memphis. The project is part of a redevelopment plan for the
area and supported by the University District, Inc., which is a partnership comprised
of neighborhoods, businesses, and the U of M to promote, preserve, and encourage revitalization
of the Highland area community.
Highland Row - Poag and McEwen
University Neighborhood Partnership