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CivicCon: Want to Build a Strong Town? Skip the Next Big Project and Start Small

Along Broad Avenue in east Memphis, where a streetcar once ran through the neighborhood that was the village of Binghampton, residents about 15 years ago decided to do something about the decaying neighborhood.

The streetcar that ran through the neighborhood had been ripped out in the 1950s and replaced with a road. Blocks were later abandoned. Blight took over. Until one day, the way Chuck Marohn with Strong Towns tells the story, folks there got fed up.

They worked with the property owners to get the buildings cleaned up. They painted a mural. Even put in crosswalks and bike lanes. Then one weekend they held an event and invited businesses to see the area’s potential.

“I wasn’t there for that project, but they brought me out there six months later,” said Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns who spoke at Thursday’s CivicCon event hosted by One Acadiana.

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