Our Committee

The Memphis Neighborhood Blight Elimination Charter is being coordinated by the staff of Neighborhood Preservation, Inc.


Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. (NPI) is a nonprofit organization conceived out the recognition that citizens and local government needed a more aggressive and focused private-sector partner to work on the complex legal issues around blight abatement and move nuisance properties back into productive use. For more information on NPI, please visit NPIMemphis.org.

The Memphis Neighborhood Blight Elimination Charter was developed with in collaboration with a steering committee representing Memphis’ grassroots, public sector, and business communities. This steering committee includes:

  • Mairi Albertson, Division of Housing & Community Development, City of Memphis
  • Roshun Austin, The Works, Inc.
  • Steve Barlow, Brewer & Barlow PLC
  • Kirk Bobo, Hnedak Bobo Group, Inc.
  • John Cameron, Shelby County Environmental Court
  • George Cates, Neighborhood Preservation, Inc.
  • Larry Chan, Downtown Memphis Commission
  • Donnell Cobbins, Shelby County Trustee’s Office
  • Kathy Cowan, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis – Memphis Branch
  • Sheila Jordan Cunningham, Brewer & Barlow PLC
  • Patrick Dandridge, Deputy Director, Division of Public Works, City of Memphis
  • Julie Ellis, Butler Snow PLC
  • Shea Flinn, Chairman’s Circle, Greater Memphis Chamber
  • Carter Gray, Assistant Shelby County Attorney
  • Quincy Jones, Community Capital
  • Kerry Hayes, Key Public Strategies
  • David Lenoir, Shelby County Trustee
  • Missy Marshall, Keep Tennessee Beautiful
  • Tanja Mitchell, Uptown Partnership
  • Abby Miller, Medical District Collaborative
  • Melanie Neal, Neighborhood Improvement Department, City of Memphis
  • Hon. Larry Potter, Shelby County Environmental Court
  • Daniel SchaffzinUniversity of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
  • Janet Shipman, Assistant Shelby County Attorney
  • Dwayne Spencer, Habitat For Humanity
  • Patrice Thomas, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, City of Memphis
  • Emily Trenholm, Community Development Council of Greater Memphis
  • Lang Weisman, Wiseman Bray PLLC
  • Eldra White, Memphis City Beautiful Commission
  • Archie Willis,Community Capital
  • Paul Young, Division of Housing & Community Development, City of Memphis

The development of the Charter is being led by national experts Joe Schilling and Kermit Lind.Joe a national thought leader in how to  design new models for revitalizing neighborhoods and regenerating “legacy cities” struggling with the aftershocks of depopulation, sprawl, inequality, fragmentation, and foreclosures. He joined the Urban Institute in February 2016 where he will continue his work on blight, abandonment, sustainability and municipal and civic capacity building. Before coming to the Urban Institute, Schilling was Associate Director and Senior Fellow for the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, in Alexandria, Virginia from 2005 to 2015. Professor Schilling holds a Masters of Environmental Law (LL.M.) from George Washington University and a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

Kermit is Clinical Professor of Law Emeritus at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, where he supervised a teaching law practice for neighborhood housing and community development clients.  Besides teaching practice skills to new lawyers, the law clinic played a leading role in the region’s struggle against residential neighborhood destabilization and blight in the mortgage crisis. Kermit was co-counsel in two civil suits filed in 2008 to require global banks owning hundreds of homes in Cleveland to abate public nuisance conditions in their houses. He currently consults with public and public interest agencies on community development law and public policy.