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Orange Mound advocates celebrate recent successes, promise to keep up momentum

Recent months have brought announcements of new recreation, housing and education options in the historic Memphis neighborhood.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Longtime Orange Mound advocates are celebrating a string of recent successes in the historic Memphis neighborhood, including new recreation, learning, and housing options. 

They also believe the work is just getting started.

Among those advocates is 63-year-old Rev. Reginald Tucker, a lifelong Orange Mound resident who leads Orange Mound Outreach Ministries.

"To watch the decline of Orange Mound and now to see it's on its way back up, it's a lot of joy for me," Rev. Tucker said.

He's doing his part to rebuild the community, working with a contractor to build at least a half dozen affordable homes to help families of that ministry. 

"The goal for the houses is to stabilize the kids and our ministry, to make sure they don't have to move as much," Rev. Tucker added.

The project is part of a broader revival in Orange Mound. That includes the past weekend's opening of a splash pad at Orange Mound Park, the commitment of federal dollars to transform the old Melrose High School into a cultural center, and the recent opening of a the Porter-Leith Childhood Academy.

"There have been lots of highlights, all good energy around a community that just kind of struggled to have a positive, consistent narrative," Britney Thornton said.

Thornton with the non-profit 'JUICE Orange Mound' helped spearhead 'Mound Up', a neighborhood revitalization plan.

"This vision is helpful. It's a lot of actions that happened in Orange Mound, but you have to sit back and ask, according to what plan? If we don't have a big vision, than there's no way to hold ourselves accountable," Thornton said.

While Rev. Tucker is proud of the recent progress, he also conceded other public-private partnerships are needed.

"We just need some more businesses for economic status, to raise people, the value of Orange Mound," Rev. Tucker said.,

Orange Mound advocates also continue to work with the city of infrastructure improvements on Park Avenue, including potential bike lanes.

For more information on the revitalization plan, go to: https://www.moundup.org/.

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