The focus of the Memphis Heritage Trail Green Streets Retrofit Initiative is to develop a scheme for adding environmental/green retrofits to the existing planning initiative known as the Memphis Heritage Trail. The proposed improvements to the public infrastructure would benefit the environment and reduce the effects of stormwater on city storm sewers while enhancing the urban corridor. The schematic design offers green retrofits that help connect historic sites with green urban spaces through a series of pedestrian walking trails and bicycle paths. This proposed linear park has the potential to attract future businesses and new residential developments. The retrofits also promote a pedestrian-friendly, safe, and efficient urban environment for local residents and visitors.
The Memphis Heritage Trail is a planned physical “trail”—i.e., a combined bicycle and pedestrian paths, linking individual cultural components and notable locations of the area to tell the ‘story’ of African-American Memphians. Highlighted locations along the Memphis Heritage Trail (which are within the boundaries of the MHTRA) include well-known Memphis institutions such as the National Civil Rights Museum, the historic Clayborn Temple, the Robert R. Church Park, the Universal Life Insurance Building, and other cultural destinations. The Memphis Heritage Trail will also celebrate notable activists, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and artists who have connections to the target area, such as Robert R. Church Sr., Robert R. Church Jr., Julia Britton Hooks, Ida B. Wells, A. Maceo Walker, and Ernest Withers.
Memphis Heritage Trail will also incorporate public art installations and downloadable apps that will feature directions, narration, photos, video clips, and music to bring the history to life. These features will make the Memphis Heritage Trail a world-class amenity, similar to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Washington D.C. Neighborhood Heritage Trails or the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail. The Memphis Heritage Trail will be an authentic, attractive, vibrant, pedestrian-friendly and sustainable asset of downtown Memphis.