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Resilience workshops target weather-related threats

Shelby County was hammered by three storms in April 2011 and there still are unmet recovery needs. Three upcoming workshops are designed to address those needs and better position the area for what may be ahead.

The Shelby County Office of Resilience will host the workshops beginning next Tuesday, Jan. 30. It’s part of gathering public input on the creation of the Mid-South Regional Resilience Plan.

In addition to the focus on unmet recovery needs from the 2011 storms, the move to create a Mid-South Regional Resilience Plan is about identifying “future activities that will increase the region’s resilience to the effects of severe storms and flooding, extreme heat or cold, and other climate- or weather-related events.”

The plan is envisioned to cover all of Shelby and DeSoto counties, as well as parts of Fayette and Marshall counties.

“Our region knows the impact that climate disasters like severe storms and flooding can have on our communities,” said John Zeanah, director of the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development.

“We saw it in 2011 across Shelby County and the region, and we’ve seen it since. This plan gives our region the opportunity to build from a common foundation – the Mid-South Regional Greenprint Plan – in order to better adapt and thrive in the face of future disasters, whether they be flooding, severe storms and wind, or extreme heat. The public’s voice is essential in helping us create this regional resilience plan.”

Residents are invited to participate in one of the three public workshops to support the initial phase of the plan’s development. They’ll be asked to share their opinions on the best strategies to mitigate the effects of and manage recovery efforts for future weather-related incidents.

Development of the Mid-South Regional Resilience Plan is funded with a portion of the National Disaster Resilience Grant (NDRG) that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Shelby County in 2015. It is part of the ongoing implementation of the Mid-South Regional Greenprint Plan.

In addition to the regional resilience master plan, the NDRG funds three flood mitigation projects along Wolf River, Big Creek and South Cypress Creek.

The South Cypress Creek project is focused on the portion of the creek adjacent to Weaver Park and the areas of the West Junction neighborhood that were inundated in the 2011 Mississippi River floods. Two public events – one in September and a second in December – drew 75-plus people on each occasion to Mitchell High School to communicate project information and collect community feedback.

A third and final public event will take place in the late spring. That’s when residents will be presented with a draft of the final design for the creek and flood-prone sections of the neighborhood.

The first of the three Mid-South Regional Resilience Plan workshops will be held Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at the Memphis Leadership Foundation at 1548 Poplar Ave.

The remaining workshops are: January 31, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Millington-Baker Community Center, 7942 Church St. in Millington; February 1, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Southaven Public Library at 8554 Northwest Drive.

(For more information, visit ResilientShelby.com.)

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