“These are truly unprecedented events,” but we will find a way

A note from the NPI President on postponements of Code Enforcement and NPS conferences

By Steve Barlow

Did you know that you could put a custom background up in a Zoom video conference call? I learned how this week! Other members of the NPI team chose a lunar landscape, a Memphis skyline at night and a beach full of flamingos. 

As you can see, I opted for the northern lights. We are learning together how to collaborate, coordinate and convene to eliminate blighted properties in Memphis from our home offices via the internet for now.  

Code Enforcement Academy Postponed

Our fourth annual Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy – which was slated for late March and had six cities enrolled – had to be postponed. But we have decided to commit to a late June date and to holding the Academy virtually. My team is energized about making it the best ever, and about the unique opportunities the virtual format will give us to include more speakers and more participants.  

NPI Summit Re-Engineered

The “Neighborhood Preservation Summit,” originally set for May 1, will be re-engineered as well. Collaborative, cross-sector teams remain committed to developing high quality sessions about how to reclaim and reuse abandoned and neglected properties, how to strengthen property maintenance enforcement, how to use and share data about properties and how to engage community in the “blight fight.”  We are looking at ways to make the seminars that we would have held in-person on that day available online through live streaming, Facebook Live, video conferencing and/or on local television. And we’ll postpone the awards ceremony and keynote speaker / luncheon until after the current health crisis has passed. Trust me, you’ll want to be there as the summit is being held at Northside High. 

So much uncertainty! One thing that I love to do every day is walk to the end of my driveway and pick up my newspaper – yes, I still love to read the old-fashioned print newspaper while I have a cup of coffee every morning. That routine has continued even in these uncertain times. While reading a report on the economy in my paper today, I was impressed with the closing quote attributed to unnamed Deutsche Bank economists: “These are truly unprecedented events with no adequate historical example with which to precisely anchor our forecast.” The only answer to so many of the questions that I, my family and my co-workers have is “It remains unclear.”  

What is clear to me is that we will find a way through these challenging times together. Our resolve remains unwavering and the people in our community are impressively resilient. Our vision to assure blight-free neighborhoods for all Memphians is unchecked. I have no doubt that together we will find the courage to take advantage of this difficult situation, get things done despite hardship and come out stronger, even if changed, on the other side of the crisis.  

I, for one, look forward to the day we can replace social distancing with good old socialization – but until then, I’ll see you on the video monitor!  

Steve Barlow is president of Neighborhood Preservation, Inc.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.