Tuesday, January 6, 2015
I pray that all is well and that everyone enjoyed their holidays. The
year 2014 was an exciting and rewarding year for the Frayser
Neighborhood Council as well as the Frayser Community.
Strong communities, make strong cities and undoubtedly the Frayser
community plays a vital role in the strength and success of our great
city, the city of Memphis.
Collectively, the FNC has been very instrumental in leading and
bringing our community together in such a way that our efforts have
gained the attention of others throughout Memphis and beyond as well
as serving as a model for those who seek to do the same within their
Our positioning as leaders in the Frayser community and our roles on
the Frayser Neighborhood Council comes with great responsibility. Not
to ourselves, but to those whom we have been elected to serve. We
must continuously evaluate ourselves individually and as a council;
asking ourselves if our efforts and actions are positively or
negatively affecting those in whom we serve and serve alongside.
Dr. King said “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability,
but comes through continuous struggle”. That “struggle” has been
evident as we have attempted to cultivate change within Frayser and it
yet remains. I am confident that within our council lies those whom
are up for the challenge and ready to face the “struggle” head on.
Our bylaws state that an election should be held every year. The FNC
agreed to postpone the 2014 elections and later set the election date
for May of 2015.
By a majority vote, the council also decided to defer all public
community meetings until the date of the elections.
The FNC has by majority vote also agreed to the terms listed below.
1) There will be no public Frayser Neighborhood Council meetings held
until the new election in May.
2) Subcommittees and/or individual meetings, and training sessions
will serve as the platform to reestablishing the new board structure.
3) Council members will not be permitted to “meet”, “act” or "release
any statements" in the name of the Frayser Neighborhood Council or
During this time, the FNC will be conducting individual and sub
committee meetings as well as undergoing training with a
representative from the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program to
ensure that a positive and progressive culture is being set for the
newly elected council.
The deferment of meetings does not stop the work of the council but
instead forwards us the opportunity to focus inward and ensure success
for future elected councils.
I am confident that the investments made by the stakeholders of 38127
will not only continue but increase over the next few months.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above mentioned
matters, please feel free to contact me at this email address.
Proudly serving in 38127,
Frayser Neighborhood Council
As 2015 begins and 2014 becomes “last year”, it is time for a review of the significant events and occurrences that took place as we anticipate the opportunities and possibilities that the New Year affords.
Most significantly, December 31, 2014 saw a formal end to the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program for Frayser. BNCP was part of President Obama’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative where five federal agencies – Department of Justice, Treasury, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services – came together to provide funding for increasing a neighborhood’s ability to determine for itself what it wanted to be and then to develop a plan to transform itself into that. Frayser was one of 8 neighborhoods initially selected in 4 cities (of which Memphis was one) in August 2012 and Community LIFT, on behalf of the Greater Memphis Partnership, received a grant to initiate these efforts. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) was the agency that coordinated these efforts and provided technical assistance to each neighborhood.
As numerous events, actions, and activities illustrate, capacity has definitely been built in Frayser. Most especially, the Frayser Neighborhood Council (FNC) was formed to act as the neighborhood partnership to oversee the planning process and pursue implementation of the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, commonly called FRAYSER 2020. FNC and the Frayser 2020 Plan were the product of the BNCP process in Frayser. The FNC had a number of successes including:
• FRAYSER 2020 – which identifies 5 priority areas – public safety, jobs, education, housing, and health – and proposes solutions and strategies to address the 3 majors concerns and the results desired in the year 2020;
• Frayser Day – where over 1100 persons, including both Mayors, District Attorney General, Congressman, State Representatives, State Senator, City Councilmen, County Commissioners, Judges, and numerous candidates for office, attended the “living model” of the Frayser Town Center and the unveiling of the final Frayser 2020 Plan;
• Greenprint grant for a Downtown Frayser/Town Center – a planning grant that was used to identify a location for a new Downtown Frayser which includes a new library, transit hub, police precinct, performing arts venue, town square/farmers market, and health center;
• Election of an FNC Board member to the Shelby County School Board – former FNC Board Vice President, Stephanie Love, was elected to be a Shelby County Board of Education Commissioner (District 3) and has led the fight challenging the State takeover of schools in Raleigh and Frayser and has been an outspoken advocate for parental involvement in the educational process of their children since her election in August 2014;
• Crime Summit/Townhall meeting with DOJ – the Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, held a Crime Summit in Frayser and were provided the Frayser 2020 Unity in the Community/crime prevention proposal.
• City Council Budget request - held a rally and took over 120 persons to City Council meeting in support of a Budget allocation request for FNC.
These are but a few of the highlights from 2014 to go with the great accomplishments of 2013 – stopping a RV park development, getting $800,000 for sidewalks in front of Corning School, getting $850,000 for Denver Park improvements, surveying over 5000 persons regarding their concerns and ideas for Frayser, and numerous visioning sessions, townhall meetings and public forums.
And, as 2014 ended, FNC’s Board of Directors took 2 actions that set a tone for 2015 – FNC voted that they did not want any more takeover of Frayser schools by the State-run Achievement School District, and voted to re-establish May of 2015 as the date for the election of the new Board of Directors to the Frayser Neighborhood Council. FNC also began the process of transitioning from a body responsible for developing a plan and reflecting Frayser concerns to becoming a cohesive group of action and implementation. Given the capacity that has been built in Frayser through FNC now seems like the appropriate time for me to end my service as the Frayser BNCP Site Director. Effective March 13, 2015, I will end my service in that capacity. As is often the case, the person who manages the development of the plan is not necessarily the person to implement that plan. My announcement at this time should allow enough time for tying up BNCP "loose ends" and assisting with FNC’s present transformation.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Frayser Neighborhood Council is committed to doing its part to ensure all students in the Frayser Community get a high quality education that provides them the opportunity of being successful in college, career, and their community. To that end we want to push accountability and transparency on all the schools (SCS, ASD, SCS Charters, ASD Charters, and Private Schools) in our community by empowering and supporting parents to help make the decisions that they feel are best for their children.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Content taken from The Memphis Flyer newspaper
by Chris Shaw:
Deborah Lovelace has lived in Frayser's Denver Park neighborhood for years, and the park near her home, also called Denver Park, has been an eyesore for most of that time. After being nominated president of the Denver Park Neighborhood Association, Lovelace began dreaming up ways the community could improve the park.
Lovelace admits that before the police and community got involved, the old park wasn't a place she wanted to be.
"It was just kind of a secluded hole in the wall for crime," Lovelace said."People were in there just kind of hanging out and doing drugs, and other people would be threatened with violence by gang members if they tried to use the park. It was an intimidating place."
After Lovelace informed the MPD of what was going on in the park, they did more than just run out the gang members. Lovelace said the police went door to door to set up a neighborhood watch program and invited residents of the Denver Park neighborhood to attend neighborhood watch classes that instructed them how to fight back against crime.
And police didn't stop there. After concerns were raised about children playing basketball in the street in the area, police began an outreach program for the children of the neighborhood, taking them to basketball tournaments, the Memphis Pink Palace Museum, and other field trips around the city.
"We actually have a beautiful relationship with police and the community outreach program that they set up," Lovelace said. "They know all of our kids by name, and the kids run to the police instead of running away from them. We are all very familiar with each other because they've done such a wonderful job."
Even with a very successful youth outreach program, Denver Park still needs a lot of work. Currently, the only park equipment is a rusty swing, a broken basketball goal, and a raggedy fence that is supposed to function as a backstop for a baseball diamond. But now that the gang activity has ceased, Lovelace and the rest of the neighborhood feel safe organizing at Denver Park, and the police and neighborhood association have began holding annual events at the once-dangerous location.
"The police have more power than we have, but the difference is that they actually wanted citizen involvement. They got this project started and then handed it over to us, and it's just grown from there," Lovelace said.
When completed, the park will feature a pavilion with stationary barbecue grills, a refurbished basketball court, a half-mile walking trail, a playground, adult fitness equipment and plenty of space for free play and multi-purpose use. The city hopes to have the park completely refurbished by spring of next year.
"All these kids needed was somewhere to go, and now they are getting it," Lovelace said. "There are a lot of young people in this community, but there just wasn't anything to keep them busy. [Denver Park] never even had a bench or a water fountain. There was nothing there."