Monthly column will explore landmarks status issues
By Kristen Schebler
Ongoing efforts to seek landmarks status with the city Landmarks Commission have sparked lively debate and raised a lot of questions. This month we unveil a new column that will focus on providing updates and information about the effort to create a Cooper-Young Landmarks District.
Up to this point, the organizing committee has worked hard to draft potential guidelines for the neighborhood. These guidelines were officially presented in the first public meeting of the process in mid-February and attendees provided a first round of comments. The organizing committee is grateful to everyone who came out and to everyone who has taken a look at the guidelines and shared their thoughts throughout this process.
Thanks to these great community members, the organizing committee would like to answer a few common questions. Don’t see your question? Don’t worry, the committee will have more information here each month or you can stop by the Cooper-Young Community Association office for previous issues of the Lamplighter. Your question may already have an answer. You can also get timely updates and information through the CYCA’s social media channels.
How is the CYCA involved with this process?
In 2016, the CYCA sought out neighborhood input for a new five-year plan. Throughout this process, residents described how much they valued the historic character of the neighborhood and many wrote in suggestions to seek protection for that character. Acting on these requests, the CYCA held an open interest meeting to explore landmarks districts in Memphis. Interested residents eventually formed the Landmarks Organizing Committee and began working through the process. The CYCA has provided resources to the organizing committee.
Moving forward, the CYCA will act as a facilitator for this process. It will hold no official position regarding the eventual vote. The organization’s interest is in offering community members the opportunity to choose for themselves the best course of action. The CYCA is also committed to informing all effected parties of their options.
Who is the Landmarks Organizing Committee?
This group is made up of Cooper-Young residents who answered a publicized call-out meeting in the summer of 2016. The CYCA arranged an interest meeting to raise questions and find out if there was enough support to start on the process. Several residents affirmed their support and became the Landmarks Organizing Committee. Each member of the committee lives in Cooper-Young and many have been involved in the neighborhood for years. While committee meetings are not open to the public, anyone with an interest in the landmarks process may join the committee. Getting involved at this level is one of the best ways to help steer the process.
Becoming a landmarks district is a long process and includes a minimum of two public meetings, a vote of all property owners within the proposed district, a hearing with the Landmarks Commission, and three rounds of voting from city council. The next step for Cooper-Young is to inform and communicate with as many property owners as possible regarding the proposed guidelines. These guidelines are only a draft and can still be changed based on feedback from the community. This effort will include online “Ask Me Anything” events, a public survey, small block club meetings (where possible), and mailings. Once the organizing committee has a revised set of guidelines, a public meeting will be held for review.
Want to learn more? Be sure to read next month’s column on the voting process.
How to get involved with the landmarks campaign
- Get the guidelines! If you haven’t seen the proposed guidelines, you can find them online at cooperyoung.org or stop by for a copy at the CYCA office (2298 Young). Reading the guidelines is the first step to getting involved and getting informed.
- Ask questions! Have you read the guidelines but need a question answered? Contact the CYCA at 901-272-2922, firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by during office hours for a one-on-one answer. You can also follow the CYCA online for special events.
- Stay informed! If this is an important topic to you – and the organizing committee hopes that it is – you can do a lot but reading your Lamplighter, following updates on social media, and attending meetings when possible.
- Organize a meeting! The CYCA would be happy to come to your block club or small group and answer questions. Just contact them and set up a time at your convenience.
- Join the Landmarks Organizing Committee! Are you interested in helping to shape this effort? Contact the CYCA to find out how you can join the committee. All are welcome.
- Vote! When the time comes, all property owners will be eligible to vote on becoming a landmarks district. It is crucial that all eligible voters make their voices heard. IF YOU DO NOT VOTE, YOU WILL BE COUNTED AS A YES.