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Jackson Avenue Corridor Project Update
Neighborhood signage added to Jackson Avenue Corridor to identify Smokey City community
Posted on 06/18/2020
Mayor Jim Strickland and Paul Young, Director of Housing and Community Development have announced the installation of neighborhood signage in the Jackson Avenue Corridor to identify the Smokey City community. This signage, designed by Ray Brown of Ray Brown Studio, features the history of the Smokey City neighborhood and is located at Jackson Avenue and Ayers. The second sign is to be placed at the corner of Jackson Avenue and will recognize the Klondike community along with street toppers strategically placed along Jackson Avenue.

“The race is not for the swift nor the strong, but the one that endureth to the end. After months of planning we see the work has begun," said Ms. Quincey Morris, executive director of the Klondike-Smokey City Community Development Corporation.

The signage is a part of a campaign to bring recognition to Smokey City, one of Memphis’ oldest neighborhoods. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date of its founding, but one of Smokey City’s oldest buildings, The Porter Leath Orphan Asylum, was built in 1876 and remains standing today.

The Smokey City neighborhood boasts a long history of resistance and self-empowerment. One of the first neighborhoods that allowed Black residents to own property, many speculate the name “Smokey City” was given to the area because of the smoke that permeated the sky from nearby factories and blacksmiths shops that were in the community.

“Great things are happening in our city and it's a wonderful thing when years of hard work start to take center stage. The City’s Housing and Community Development and our Engineering Divisions, are working to keep the momentum going in our neighborhoods. The Jackson Corridor Project and the Smokey City signage is just the beginning and a true testament to the dedication the City of Memphis has to see our communities thrive," said Mayor Strickland. 

The Jackson Avenue corridor is underway and commenced with the installation of neighborhood signage in Smokey City. The project is designed to enhance and revitalize the gateway between the communities of Klondike & Smokey City and as a continued commitment to improving the quality of neighborhoods in Memphis. This project is a part of the larger neighborhood plan which includes infrastructure improvements, signage, the narrowing of Jackson Avenue, potential facade improvements, and art installation.

“We are excited about the continued projects in historic neighborhoods such as Smokey City. These efforts are paving the way for future revitalization and redevelopment in the area. Great partners like Klondike-Smokey City CDC are entrenched in the transformative work of the community,” said Paul Young.

For more information, please contact Arlenia Cole at arlenia.cole@memphistn.gov.
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