The Cooper Young Business Association kicked off its 29th year January 25th with its annual membership meeting and election at Tsunami Restaurant.
The proposed 2016 slate of officers and directors was passed with just one negative vote. The volunteer board for 2016 is:
Officers: president, Steve Womack (State Farm Insurance – business/property owner); vice president, Charlie Ryan (Ryan Properties – property owner); vice president, Stephen Crump (property owner); secretary, David Milem (Consulting Engineers – business/property owner; treasurer, Dr. Stephen Tower (Memphis Animal Clinic – business/property owner).
Board Members: Katie Smythe Thinnes (New Ballet Ensemble – business/property owner); Cameron Mann (Young Avenue Sound – business/property owner); Leah J. Roen (Attorney – business owner); Ryan Trimm (Sweet Grass & Next Door – business owner); Scott Lebowitz (Inbalance Fitness – business/property owner); Sharron Johnson (Stone Soup Café – business/property owner); Stephanie Jones (Me & Mrs. Jones – business owner); Jon Anderson (Heartbeat Productions – business/property owner).
Also at the meeting, Womack and Dr. Stephen Tower announces additional 2015 donations to three community nonprofits: $2,000 to the House of Mews; $5,000 to Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center, and $2,000 to the Voices of the South. These donations were in addition to the $5,000 to First Congo Church, $2,705 to the Johnny Cash statue, and $500 to Half Pints for Half Pints event benefiting the Peabody School. Total donations for the year were $17,205.
Doug McGowen, Mayor Jim Strickland’s chief operating officer, was guest speaker. He talked about the two main concerns of the Strickland administration: blight, litter, and crime; and accountability. He said newly instituted monthly employee meetings are an attempt to address the latter.
In regards to blight, litter, and crime, the city has amassed a database with information on all 244,000 parcels so they will know when blight becomes a problem. A litter index has also been complied to identify areas the city needs to work on. With his “Clean by 2019” program, the mayor has announced the intention to restore Memphis to its former status as the cleanest city in America, a title it enjoyed in the 1940s.
n Despite declarations from the previous owners to the contrary, the former Galloway United Methodist Church in Cooper-Young was sold at auction on the county courthouse steps last month, but organizers behind a Johnny Cash tribute on the site say the change of hands will not impact their plans.
Local filmmaker Mike McCarthy says plans are moving ahead to place a historical marker and a statue on the site, where Cash and his group the Tennessee Two played their first concert. McCarthy is also in working on a film based on the event.
Mark Lovell, whose business ventures include the Delta Fair, Stonebridge Golf Course, and the Memphis International Rockabilly Festival, paid $434,000 for the property, which had most recently been owned the nonprofit Cooper Walker Place. Two years ago Cooper Walker Place assumed a $995,000 loan originally taken out by former occupants Lifelink Church. Default on the loan as well as back taxes were the reason for the auction.
Lovell has announced vague plans for a performance space and commercial and office space, but he intends to honor the property’s commitment to the Cash project.
To help raise funds and awareness for the project, a series of concerts have been planned for what is now called Galloway House. The first was planned for the end of February. The next is On March 26th with Deering & Down and Nancy Apple. On May 1st, another event will be held to commemorate the unveiling of the historical marker.
n On February 8th Shelby County Commissioners George Chism and Reginald Milton awarded a $30,000 grant to the Cooper-Young Business Association for the addition of solar-powered lighted safety walks on each side of the intersection of Cooper and Young. The award was part of a total disbursement of $99,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. Each commissioner is allotted $100,000 to donate to local nonprofit groups or toward a community enhancement project.