The Commercial Appeal
Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson gets it.
He understands there is more to attracting good jobs and creative workers to a city than offering corporations tax incentives.
Creating a sense of place also is important.
The mayor of the DeSoto County seat of 15,000 residents recently spoke at an Urban Land Institute event in Downtown Memphis about how sidewalks, bike lanes and good urban design help make a community healthier by making it easier to get exercise.
The mayor has garnered state and national recognition for his efforts make Hernando a healthy community.
Johnson, co-chairman of the Urban Land Institute Memphis Healthy Communities Initiative, told the audience that another overarching goal is to create a lifestyle in Hernando that will help attract the “creative class” of people who populate corporate headquarters. In short, the city wants to attract corporate offices.
That is a great goal as long as the pursuit does not cannibalize jobs in surrounding cities.
Still, Johnson is among a group of mayors leading big and small cities in Greater Memphis who understand that creating a sense of place leads to community cohesiveness and a great quality of life.
And that helps create a competitive edge in attracting corporate employees as residents, even if the city cannot reel in the corporations.