The Heights Community Development Corporation has engaged a diverse group of local stakeholders to reimagine National Street as an improved public space featuring a multi-use pedestrian and bicycle promenade. The neighborhood’s vision for National Street will be put on display in the fall 2017 by temporarily transforming a section of National Street into the Heights Line. The Heights Line is a linear park and promenade intended to provide a public gathering place for neighborhood residents and demonstrate the potential for National Street to be a vital connection between two of Memphis’ premiere urban trails: the Wolf River Greenway and the Shelby Farms Greenline.
The Heights CDC is coordinating public meetings, acting as the fiscal agent for fundraising efforts, and partnering with public sector organizations to secure endorsements and support. The Heights Line demonstration project is endorsed by the City of Memphis Division of Engineering, the Office of Comprehensive Planning, Treadwell Middle School, and BLDG Memphis. A representative of the Heights CDC has also received a scholarship to attend the 2017 Greater and Greener conference to advance the Heights Line efforts.
The concept for Heights Line originated from a community member, and public engagement has been at the center of the work since. Heights Line has been discussed at a number of community meetings and at more than a dozen focus group meetings with community stakeholders. Neighborhood residents have raised half of the funding needed for the demonstration project and are leading a crowdfunding campaign through IOBY to raise the other half. Volunteers from the community are involved in many aspects of the project’s implementation, from building public benches to conducting traffic counts. A participatory process continues leading up to the project and a social engagement strategy has been developed to gather public input during the project’s duration.