New Plans for Highland Row

My interest in public administration began with community development. I’m interested in how the community around an individual can impact and empower that person. With that being said, I am interested in planning also. Before I realized what. I really wanted to do, I had the hopes of becoming a city planner with the City of Memphis/Shelby County government. I have read many-a-things on planing for community development.
According to the Daily Helmsman on Thursday Jan 30, 2014, the recent plans for Highland Row are inspiring. Seeing how the community around the UofM can become a better place is great! It is in a local and safe spot as well. There are many students living in the University District that don’t have cars and that area would be extremely beneficial to them. Highland Row was meant to build social capital to the residents living in the University District. So the proposed plan to have a possible grocery, shops and another restaurant choice are all well needed to achieve the initial goal of the project. However, the planners should probably start with an area closer to the University.
The train tracks separate the campus into two parts: “this side of the tracks” and “the other side of the tracks.” Well, most students park in the parking lot on “the other side of the tracks.” And most of the off-campus housing in Normal Station is that of students, professors or anybody that have anything in relation to the UofM.
Going from “this side of the tracks” to “the other side of the tracks” is a nightmare. The mot unfortunate is the hope that the train isn’t coming or if it is, makes it’s presence known (since some trains are spontaneous). Even when crossing he tracks if it’s raining one needs to have rain boots. The pavement crossing the train tracks is old, cracked, damaged, prone to puddles and trips one if they don’t look down.
The pavement crossing the train tracks is an introduction to the UofM. Unfortunately, it is definitely a sad and financially broken introduction. One doesn’t hear the triumphant Go Tigers Go! fight song as they walk along the pavement but instead they hear sad Memphis Blues. The entire area crossing the train tracks is simply depressing.
This is why the UofM should focus on an area closer to campus instead of completely off-campus. The train tracks along with parking and crossing Patterson are amidst the on-campus problems. The efforts of planning should stick to our campus before we go to Highland Row. Incoming students won’t see Highland Row when they tour the campus but instead they will see the campus and probably cross the train tracks to get there.