Get Down Memphis
Posted on 2/22/2016

Why a Healthy Downtown Important to Our Region

Even if you don't live or work in Downtown, a healthy and vibrant Downtown is critically important to the overall success of Memphis and our region and has a significant impact on every citizens’ quality of life.

Density is Destiny.  Collectively, more people live, work and play in Downtown per acre than any other area in the region.  This high density is important for several reasons.

  • Downtown’s density makes is one of the city’s best tools for tax revenue generation. Because more tax payers are concentrated in Downtown, Downtown is contributing to the tax base at a rate of four times more that than of the rest of the city.  This high contribution to the city’s tax base goes to pay for important city services throughout the entire city, like schools, fire, police and other services.
  • Because more people are living, working and playing in a smaller footprint, Downtown is less of a burden on city services.  As Memphis sprawled east, the acquisition of more land required more support from city services without the benefit of having more tax payers.  With larger land mass, the city must maintain more roads, sewers and public realm.  Since there is less land to manage but more people in Downtown, Downtown is using fewer city services while still contributing more to the tax roll.
  • With tourist attractions and visitor amenities clustered within a confined area, Downtown is the hub for tourism revenue generation for the region.  Beale Street alone is the state of Tennessee’s highest tourism revenue generator, and when you add Downtown's 15 hotels, 18 museums, large festivals and conventions, and entertainment venues like FedExForum, AutoZone Park and The Orpheum, Downtown brings in billions of dollars in tourism dollars that benefit our region.

Our City’s Brand.  All great cities across the world start with a great Downtown.  Downtown is our front door to Memphis, and where 6 million visitors each year form their first impression of the rest of Memphis.  In essence, Downtown serves as a principle ambassador for other communities in the region.  Downtown must maintain the highest standards of cleanliness, safety, vibrancy, cultural inclusiveness and activity so that other Memphis communities are represented well to the rest of the world.

Downtown is one of Memphis’ most valuable assets and a vital economic engine that serves all of Memphis.  We must continue to make Downtown an even healthier economic development instrument by bringing in more people to live, work and play to the city core, by building on our strength as a world-class tourism destination, and by making Downtown an inviting and vibrant neighborhood that serves as a model for the rest of Memphis.

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