The Commercial Appeal, July 11, 2018
By Raven Copeland
PHOTOS BY BRAD VEST/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
Children and volunteers gathered on a basketball court under the beaming sun Wednesday to paint their pride for Uptown. The City of Memphis and Shelby County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) partnered with ALSAC/St. Jude, Clean Memphis and Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) to enhance the appearance of MAM’s Greenlaw Center. Children painted a mural — complete with their handprints — on MAM’s basketball court, working alongside volunteers from MAM, St. Jude, Clean Memphis, Girls, Inc., among others.
The CRA asked to redecorate MAM’s basketball court in an effort to improve the city. “We were really excited to hear that they wanted to help clean up this area and make a bright fun space for our kids to hang out in the neighborhood, as well as the community members,” said Paaton Karel, MAM’s community engagement coordinator.
MAM has many volunteer opportunities, but this is the first time it has made a visual stamp in the neighborhood. “Our overall goal is to unify the neighborhood even further and help remind our kids and community that this is their space and it’s our duty to help keep it clean, along with a reminder that we respect and love this place so we want to treat it well,” Karel said.
In addition to MAM, the CRA cleaned up other parts of Uptown for its “Green Up Clean Up” event. “We’re trimming trees, doing street tree maintenance, cutting overgrown lots, picking up trash and painting crosswalks,” said Tanja Mitchell, CRA’s Uptown Neighborhood coordinator.
Mitchell is proud of Uptown’s community development and looks forward to future projects. “I enjoy seeing a town change into this really awesome diverse community. I’m enjoying seeing the things that are happening and all of the new development that is coming,” Mitchell said. “We started in this area of Uptown, but we’re going to have several more events and move around to different neighborhoods in the TIF district.”
The CRA and Uptown Advisory Committee plan to create neighborhoods that promote a mix of incomes, protect single-family homes and create vibrant community anchors that strengthen connections to Downtown Memphis, according to the CRA’s website.