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Cooper- Young receives top marks

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 22:11

Cooper-Young, a Midtown Memphis neighborhood, ranked in the American Planning Association’s top 10 best neighborhoods of 2012 list.

The association chose Cooper-Young due to the area’s eclectic businesses, retro architecture and its constantly involved residents who have been rehabilitating and developing the neighborhood for decades.

“I think a lot of it is that all the businesses support each other. The more the merrier and no one is really competing,” said Troy Norwood, manager of Stone Soup Café and Market. “There is such a sense of welcomeness and diversity in the neighborhood, which definitely attributes to the success and the positive vibe that residents and businesses put out.”

Centered in Midtown, Cooper-Young offers trendy shops and restaurants that bring the neighborhood to life and attract young families and students.

“Job opportunities and housing opportunities are certainly some things that students can benefit from in Cooper-Young,” Norwood said. “Even students who are traveling can stay across the street in the hostel at First Congregational Church.”

The neighborhood is community-based and offers varying businesses and services to its residents. The Cooper-Young Community Association, founded in 1976, is the primary advocate for the residents of the neighborhood. It produces a monthly neighborhood newspaper, The Lamplighter, to communicate neighborhood and city news.

“It seems to be the most complete neighborhood,” said Doug McQuirter, bookseller at Burke’s Book Store. “Most days you can travel by foot and get all of your necessities. It’s kind of got everything you need, unless you want to buy a new car.”

Tiger Blue can often be seen in Cooper-Young — located a few blocks from Tiger Lane — in restaurants and businesses on Saturday mornings before games.

“I like how eclectic Cooper-Young is; it’s the perfect center and heart of Memphis. This is where everyone goes regardless of how they look or how they act. This is a place for students and we’re all comfortable here,” said Taylor Goff, Cooper-Young resident and University of Memphis French major.

“Every time I come here, I feel like I’m growing a little bit because I’m seeing a lot of new things. I feel like I see the same thing every time in other parts of Memphis,” she said.

Residents and business owners said they are thrilled to be listed as one of the top 10 neighborhoods in the country.

“It makes me proud Cooper-Young received the honor and I just attribute it to the openness of the neighborhood,” Norwood said. “When we were trying to open our restaurant, we couldn’t have gotten more support from other restaurants, businesses and residents. We all support each other.”

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