MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the Memphis economy.
Memphis is indeed experiencing a noticeable resurgence. Almost everyone, except perhaps for the eternal pessimists, will agree with that statement. Judging by the impressive amount of development that’s occurring, or is about to occur, inside the core city, you have to agree that, economically speaking, Memphis is on the move. Whether the Bluff City has really stopped being down on itself is debatable.
Yet, during a recent economic development seminar hosted by the Daily Memphian, developer Scott Prosterman asserted that Memphis has lost its inferiority complex. Prosterman is part of a group involved in the $73 million renovation of the old Wonder Bread plant just east of Downtown.
Put that with the planned Union Row Development and several other projects downtown and elsewhere, and it does appear that Memphis has lots of positive things to talk about. But make no mistake. We still have a long way to go before declaring victory over our challenges, including our self-doubt.
Poverty remains a drag on the Memphis economy. In fact, the poverty rate increased more than three percentage points in 2018 over the previous year. Crime and blight are still nagging issues. And we still have not made enough progress with academic performance in our schools.
I’m not being a downer. Just a realist. And while good things are happening in Memphis, the hard work remains to make our economy better for everyone. And that’s my point of view.