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Editorial Results (free)

1. Council Passes Pot Ordinance 7-6 -

The Memphis City Council gave final approval Tuesday, Oct. 4, to an ordinance that gives Memphis Police the discretion to write a ticket with a $50 fine for possession of a half ounce or less of marijuana.

2. Council Sets Stage for Final Pot Ordinance Vote -

With no debate, Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, Sept. 20, the second of three readings of an ordinance that would allow police officers to write a ticket with a $50 fine for possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana.

3. City, Wiseacre Set to Discuss Brewery’s Proposal for Coliseum -

The first order of business is to figure out what the city and the owners of Wiseacre Brewing Co. are negotiating about when it comes to Wiseacre’s proposal to convert the Mid-South Coliseum into a brewery.

4. Greensward Plan Awaits Shuttle Details -

The Overton Park Greensward controversy is still moving although it is much closer to a resolution with last week’s proposal by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, said City Council chairman Kemp Conrad and councilman Worth Morgan, whose district includes the park.

5. Lawsuit Seeks to Void City Decision on Greensward -

A lawsuit filed in Shelby County Chancery Court Tuesday, April 5, seeks to void the March 1 Memphis City Council vote that gave the Memphis Zoo undisputed control of most of the Overton Park Greensward.

6. Lawsuit Seeks to Void City Decision on Greensward -

A lawsuit filed in Shelby County Chancery Court Tuesday, April 5, seeks to void the March 1 Memphis City Council vote that gave the Memphis Zoo undisputed control of most of the Overton Park Greensward.

7. Last Word: Hedgepeth Speaks, Josh Pastner's Future and Big Box Liquor -

Where else is there to begin but the Greensward controversy.
And we start with an email from Memphis City Council member Reid Hedgepeth in what is rapidly becoming a Last Word tradition and institution – the email in full.

8. Hedgepeth Defends Greensward Action, Conservancy Moves to Mediation -

Memphis City Council member Reid Hedgepeth says the body's Tuesday, March 1, vote to give the Memphis Zoo control of part of the Overton Park Greensward was an attempt to “rectify a mistake.”

9. Council Delays MLGW Agenda, Used Car Lot -

The council also delayed for two weeks the entire Memphis Light Gas and Water Division consent agenda after councilman Reid Hedgepeth complained that the utility had done nothing about streetlights that have been out on a street in his district for a month.

10. Council Delays MLGW Agenda, Used Car Lot -

The council also delayed for two weeks the entire Memphis Light Gas and Water Division consent agenda after councilman Reid Hedgepeth complained that the utility had done nothing about streetlights that have been out on a street in his district for a month.

11. Last Word: Rallings Meets the Council, Million Dollar Auditions & A Pinch Plan Emerges -

His second day on the job, the new Memphis Police Director, Michael Rallings, met the Memphis City Council and discovered just what a huge issue police body cameras are – if he didn’t know that already.
His answers to some pointed questions about when police can turn off those cameras and why made this an uneven first encounter.
Council members told him they got an earful from constituents over the weekend in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Johnathan Bratcher in South Memphis. And some of the reaction they got was to reports that a police dispatcher ordered police trying out the body cameras to turn them off as they arrived at the scene of the shooting.
There are three cameras being tested. And one of the officers with them showed up after the shooting, according to police.
Meanwhile, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland still didn’t have a timetable for the roll-out of the cameras but did offer some specifics including hiring by the MPD of 10 new personnel to deal with the handling of what the camera records.
And Strickland’s intention is to pay for it out of the existing MPD budget.

12. Tentative Pinch Development Plan About to Emerge -

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Bass Pro Shops have agreed on a tentative and general plan for future development of the Pinch District, according to Memphis City Council member Berlin Boyd.

13. Morgan: Permanent Overton Park Fix Will Take Time -

The Memphis City Council member whose district includes Overton Park says there is no immediate permanent fix for the greensward controversy beyond the zoo continuing to park cars there.

“Short term, there’s really nothing that can quickly move that number of cars,” council member Worth Morgan said on the WKNO-TV program “Behind the Headlines.”

14. Memphis Zoo CEO: Mediation, Court Action Can Coexist in Greensward Dispute -

The Memphis Zoo’s move to Chancery Court next week in the Overton Park greensward controversy does not damage the mediation process between the zoo and the Overton Park Conservancy.

That’s what zoo president and CEO Chuck Brady said as attorneys on both sides of the controversy prepare to make their cases in court.

15. Zoo Goes To Court Over Greensward -

The Memphis Zoo has gone to Chancery Court seeking undisputed legal control of the northern section of the Overton Park greensward.

Attorneys for the zoo filed the suit Thursday, Jan. 21, seeking a declaratory judgment in the dispute with the Overton Park Conservancy.

16. Strickland Proposes Mediation in Greensward Controversy -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is asking leaders of the Memphis Zoo and the Overton Park Conservancy to enter voluntary mediation over parking in the Overton Park Greensward.

17. Memphis Zoo Removes Trees From Overton Park Greensward -

When the Overton Park Conservancy’s staff noticed 27 trees had been removed from the north end of the park’s greensward Monday, they immediately called Memphis Police.

The conservancy then began calling the other institutions in the park and found the Memphis Zoo had removed the trees donated to and planted by the conservancy four years ago.

18. Memphis Zoo Removes Trees From Overton Park Greensward -

When the Overton Park Conservancy’s staff noticed 27 trees had been removed from the north end of the park’s greensward Monday, they immediately called Memphis Police.

The conservancy then began calling the other institutions in the park and found the Memphis Zoo had removed the trees donated to and planted by the conservancy four years ago.

19. Greensward Controversy Revived With New Year’s Eve Legal Opinion -

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says a New Year’s Eve legal opinion on the use of the Overton Park greensward does not speak for his administration.

20. Liberty Bowl’s $4.8M Upgrade Would Add Seat Backs -

The University of Memphis and the Southern Heritage Classic are backing a $4.8 million plan to add 4,000 more seats with backs to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

U of M assistant athletic director Ryan Alpert said Tuesday, Dec. 1, the university is willing to reimburse the city for the cost of the seat conversions.

21. Liberty Bowl’s $4.8M Upgrade Would Add Seat Backs -

The University of Memphis and the Southern Heritage Classic are backing a $4.8 million plan to add 4,000 more seats with backs to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

U of M assistant athletic director Ryan Alpert said Tuesday, Dec. 1, the university is willing to reimburse the city for the cost of the seat conversions.

22. Voters Fill in City Hall Blanks In Last Election of Busy 2015 -

The 2015 election season was put to rest last week: A low-turnout set of five Memphis City Council runoff elections filled in the blanks of what will be a different City Hall starting in 2016.

With a 4.8 percent turnout across the turf of five single-member City Council districts, voters in the Thursday, Nov. 19, non-partisan council runoff races defined the new council that takes office in January. The 13-member body will include six new faces.

23. Council Runoff Elections: Morgan Tops Springer, Boyd Over Anderson -

With a scant 4.8 percent turnout, Memphis voters filled in the blanks at City Hall Thursday, Nov. 19, by electing four new members to the Memphis City Council and returning an appointed incumbent.

Thursday’s winners join new council members Martavius Jones and Philip Spinosa in taking office January 1, making six new faces on the 13-member council.

24. Caissa Public Strategy Works Behind The Scenes for Clients -

The word public, by its definition, seems to say out in the open.

For Caissa Public Strategy, that’s not how it works. In fact, the Memphis-based firm likes to work in the shadows, so to speak, where the agency helps its clients grow and protect reputations.

25. Five City Council Races Destined for Runoffs -

The identity of the Memphis City Council that will take office in January with six new members was still in flux at the end of a very long and frustrating Oct. 8 election night.

The races for four of those six open seats and the seat now held by an appointee to the council are going to a Nov. 19 runoff election – one week before Thanksgiving.

26. City Council Delays Vote on Subdivision in The Village -

The Memphis City Council delayed a vote Tuesday, Sept. 15, on an appeal of a two-lot subdivision at the northeast corner of Williamsburg Lane and Village Road.

Neighbors of the development are appealing the Land Use Control Board’s approval of the project proposed by Biffco GP and Investor Nation LLC.

27. Memphis City Council Delays Vote on Subdivision in The Village -

The Memphis City Council delayed a vote Tuesday, Sept. 15, on an appeal of a two-lot subdivision at the northeast corner of Williamsburg Lane and Village Road.

Neighbors of the development are appealing the Land Use Control Board’s approval of the project proposed by Biffco GP and Investor Nation LLC.

28. Memphis Chamber Backs Wharton in Mayor’s Race -

The political action committee of the Greater Memphis Chamber is backing Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. for re-election.

Wharton faces a strong challenge in his re-election bid from Memphis City Council members Harold Collins and Jim Strickland. And a key issue in the hard-fought campaign is the city's pace of economic development during Wharton’s tenure.

29. Memphis Mayoral Field Set at 10 -

Shelby County Election Commissioners have certified the Memphis election ballot for Oct. 8.

These are the names to appear on that ballot for the 15 elected offices.

The commission met hours after the noon Thursday, July 23, deadline for candidates to withdraw from the ballot if they wished.

30. Memphis Candidates Prepare To Spend -

How much a candidate raises in an election season attracts a lot of attention, and the second-quarter fundraising numbers for the Oct. 8 Memphis elections are still trickling out.

The reports were due July 10 but some are still arriving at the Shelby County Election Commission website. And in some cases, the reports are incomplete, showing amounts raised but not amounts spend and on hand as of July 1.

31. Memphis Campaigns Shift to Strategy -

With more than a dozen contenders in the race for Memphis mayor, incumbent Mayor A C Wharton Jr. was asked Wednesday, July 15, his strategy for such a large field of challengers.

“This is small to what it’s been before,” Wharton said of the still-forming field of 14.

32. Memphis City Council Approves Pay Raises, Stable Property Tax Rate -

Memphis City Council members put City Hall’s budget season to rest Tuesday, June 23, with approval of a $656.5 million city operating budget that includes 2 percent pay raises for city police and firefighters and a 1 percent pay raise for all other city employees starting in January.

33. Council to Tackle Police, Fire Pay Raises Tuesday -

The Memphis Police Association is asking its attorneys if union police officers are forbidden from going on strike if the Memphis City Council ignores an impasse committee’s recommendation to raise officer pay 3 percent.

34. Memphis City Council Delays Budget Votes Until June 23 -

Memphis City Council members put off final budget votes Tuesday, June 16, after trying for several hours to rearrange Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.'s budget proposal.

But council members, already skeptical about the administration’s line items and dollar figures, became increasingly frustrated as their calculations of available funding didn’t match the administration’s math.

35. Impasse Season Meets Budget Season at City Hall -

When the Memphis City Council’s three-member impasse committee approved a 3 percent pay raise for Memphis police officers Thursday, May 21, it spoke volumes about the budget season at City Hall.

36. Council Impasse Panel OKs 3 Percent Police Pay Hike -

A panel of three Memphis City Council members meeting Thursday, May 21, unanimously approved a 3 percent pay raise for Memphis police officers in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The council impasse committee approved the last best offer of the Memphis Police Association over the last best offer of the administration of Mayor A C Wharton Jr., which was for no pay raise.

37. Council Impasse Panel OKs 3 Percent Memphis Police Pay Hike -

A panel of three Memphis City Council members meeting Thursday, May 21, unanimously approved a 3 percent pay raise for Memphis police officers in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The council impasse committee approved the last best offer of the Memphis Police Association over the last best offer of the administration of Mayor A C Wharton Jr., which was for no pay raise.

38. Wanda Halbert to Run for City Court Clerk -

Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert will not seek re-election in this year’s city elections and will instead run for City Court Clerk.

Halbert planned to pull a petition Monday, April 20, for the challenge of incumbent clerk Thomas Long.

39. Halbert Passes on Council Re-election Bid To Go For City Court Clerk -

Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert will not seek re-election in this year's city elections and will instead run for City Court Clerk.

Halbert plans to pull a petition Monday, April 20, for the challenge of incumbent clerk Thomas Long.

40. Flinn Rumor Could Impact Multiple City Council Races -

Even before Shea Flinn gave a “no comment” last week to a persistent rumor that he would resign from the Memphis City Council, there were potential candidates eyeing his super district seat.

41. Flinn Rumor Could Impact Multiple City Council Races -

Even before Shea Flinn gave a “no comment” last week to a persistent rumor that he would resign from the Memphis City Council, there were potential candidates eyeing his super district seat.

With no qualifying petitions issued for the October ballot until next month, there is stealthy speculation about who is running for council and which seats may be sought.

42. Harris Goes to Nashville -

At his last Memphis City Council session, Lee Harris reflected this week on his three years on the council and the group of politicians he joined.

43. Council to Vote on Beale Street Tourism Authority -

Memphis City Council members vote Tuesday, Jan. 6, on the creation of a Beale Street Tourism Development Authority to oversee the future of the entertainment district.

The proposal by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. sets up a nine-member body appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council to issue bonds for construction projects in the district, levy fees to pay off the debt and to make lease agreements with tenants.

44. Council Reopens Seismic Standards Debate -

Memphis City Council members repealed new seismic provisions for homes in the city-county Unified Development Code Tuesday, Oct. 7, about a year after approving them.

The action by the council included passage on the first of three readings of new seismic provisions that would take effect in 2015 if approved by the council and through a companion ordinance by the Shelby County Commission.

45. Council Displeased With Budget Ideas -

This isn’t going to be pretty. Two weeks before Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. takes a budget proposal to the Memphis City Council, council members reacted angrily to how Wharton’s administration set the stage for its definitive recommendations.

46. Council Unhappy With Budget Plans So Far -

The administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. got a rough reception at the Tuesday, April 1, Memphis City Council session as it set the stage for Wharton’s budget proposal to come in two weeks.

47. City Pension Change Outlined for 2015 -

The administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. made its formal proposal of a “long-term solution” and change in the city’s pension plan to a 401(k) style plan this week with specific terms Wharton has long said would be included.

48. Debt and Liability -

There is rarely a good answer to the question “How much?” in politics.

With issues including the unfunded pension liability, overall debt, and revenue estimates and their validity, City Hall’s overall money problem begins but hardly ends with the question. It won’t be that simple.

49. Council’s Ire at Wharton Timing Grows -

It is a political constant in life at City Hall for Memphis City Council members to complain that they get critical information much too late in the decision-making process and then are pressured by the mayor to make a decision then and there.

50. Memphis Demolition Moratorium Delayed -

A plan by some on the Memphis City Council to declare a four-month moratorium on all demolitions of Memphis properties on the National Register of Historic Places was put off this week after questions about the legality of the moratorium.

51. Council Grapples With Attrition Plan Reality -

Every version of a city budget the Memphis City Council and Mayor A C Wharton Jr. considered in June included a plan to lose 300 city employees through attrition for long-term savings toward meeting rising future debt obligations.

52. Council Ponders Use of Reserve To Keep Fire Station Open -

Memphis City Council member considered briefly Tuesday, July 16, using $1.1 million from the $48 million city reserve fund to keep a North Memphis fire station open.

But they dropped the idea after Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. agreed to keep Fire Station #6, on Danny Thomas Boulevard north of Chelsea Avenue open at least until Labor Day.

53. City Budget Woes Affect 400 Employees -

The numbers at play so far in the Memphis City Council’s long budget season are big.

Council members tallied $24.4 million in city operating budget cuts Tuesday, June 18, in a marathon seven-hour session before an overflow crowd of angry city employees.

54. State Concerns Blow Up City Budget -

When the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. went to the state earlier this year for approval of a $112.4 million refunding bonds issuance, it was the second time in four years City Hall had used a debt tactic known as “scoop and toss.”

55. Gay, Transgender City Workers Protected From Discrimination -

At the end of a long night at City Hall with a relatively short agenda, Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism told Memphis City Council members that their meetings looked like more “fun” than the commission’s meetings.

56. Council Delays Anti-Discrimination Ordinance -

When the Memphis City Council got to the real intent this week of the latest version of an anti-discrimination ordinance it has been debating off and on for two years, it wasn’t just a decision about including “sexual orientation” in the wording.

57. Council Passes Sales Tax Hike Ballot Question -

The pair of questions the Memphis City Council is considering for the Nov. 6 ballot is another chapter in the council’s nearly five-year debate about the size and role of city government.

The council Tuesday, July 17, approved on third and final reading the referendum ordinance that puts a half percent local option sales tax hike proposal to Memphis voters.

58. Wharton: ‘Everything is Coming Together’ -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. had to make a decision Monday, July 2: Get up before dawn and catch a flight to Atlanta or stick with a scheduled and extensive bus tour for newspaper editors and others of the three core city neighborhoods he has targeted in a small-business innovation effort.

59. Unified Development Code Meeting Slated for June 27 -

A public meeting to discuss amendments to the Unified Development Code is slated for Wednesday, June 27, at Circuit Playhouse, 51 S. Cooper St., from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

60. City Council Approves $9M Stadium Improvements -

The idea of advancing city money with several layers of other funding from sources other than City Hall at a later date surfaced again this week at City Hall.

The Memphis City Council approved on Tuesday, April 3, a $9 million deal to make improvements to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

61. Council Approves Liberty Bowl Upgrade Financing -

The Memphis City Council approved up to $9 million in financing Tuesday, April 3, for improvements to the Liberty Bowl that come with the University of Memphis Tigers football team moving to the Big East athletic conference.

62. Council Rejects 18 Cent Property Tax Hike -

Memphis City Council members voted Tuesday, March 20, to reject a one-time, 18-cent property tax hike to mop up an estimated $13 million in red ink for the current fiscal year.

Instead the council voted to use $10 million from the city’s reserve fund and cut $3.2 million in the existing budget including money for a voluntary buyout program of some sanitation workers that the Wharton administration has yet to activate.

63. Elvis Presley Blvd. Center of Council Talks -

For decades what is now Elvis Presley Boulevard was the road to Memphis for those from Mississippi, whether they were coming to stay or coming to visit.

Much has changed since Elvis Presley moved into a home on a hill already named Graceland in the mid-1950s when Whitehaven was a country road not yet a part of the city of Memphis.

64. Hedgepeth’s Work Intersects With Council Role -

A Memphian born and raised, Reid Hedgepeth takes great pride in his city’s institutions, whether they be the tangible of medicine and education, or the more intangible of sports and politics.

65. Council Weighs In on Electrolux Incentives -

Some Memphis City Council members want to at least slow the appropriation of local government funding to Electrolux North America Cooking Products if the company isn’t more responsive to hiring local for the construction of its Memphis manufacturing plant.

66. Wharton, Fullilove & Conrad Re-Elected -- Harris-Ford to Runoff - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. won a full four-year term of office as mayor Thursday, Oct. 6, two years after he claimed the mayor’s office in a special election.

And all 12 of the Memphis City Council members seeking re-election won new four year terms in the city election cycle, marking the largest return of incumbents to the 13-member council in the 43-year history of the mayor-council form of government.

67. Unions Continue Budget Battle in Thursday’s Election -

No ballot questions are to be decided in the Thursday, Oct. 6, Memphis elections. But at least one of the City Council races will be viewed as a referendum on the clout of the city’s municipal labor unions.

68. Vote for Me -

Four years after the biggest turnover on the Memphis City Council, the Oct. 6 city elections could see the biggest return of incumbents ever on the council. Early voting begins Friday, Sept. 16.

Twelve of the 13 incumbents are seeking re-election. It would have been 13 had Barbara Swearengen Ware not taken a plea deal on an official misconduct charge.

69. Boyd Moves Into Temp. Council Seat -

It’s the week between the filing deadline for the Oct. 6 Memphis elections and the deadline for any candidates who made the first deadline to get out of the race by Thursday, July 28, at noon – the withdrawal deadline.

70. 4 Council Members - All 3 City Court Judges To Run Unopposed In Oct. Elections -

Four incumbent Memphis City Council members and all three incumbent City Court Judges were effectively re-elected at the Thursday, July 21, noon deadline for candidates to file their qualifying petitions for the Oct. 6 Memphis ballot.

71. Last-Minute Filers Make Election Deadline -

A flurry of last-minute filings came at the noon Thursday, July 21, deadline for candidates in the Oct. 6 Memphis elections to turn in their qualifying petitions.

Shelby County Election Commission staffers were still checking the signatures on the petitions filed Thursday to make sure those signing were voters and lived in the districts they signed for or the city in the case of the citywide races.

72. Couple Of Firecrackers -

RUNNING FULL CIRCLE. This July Fourth weekend, I’ll be doing what many of you will be doing. Dealing with some part of a pig and some brand of beer, laughing with folks, and hopefully pausing to be hopeful, remembering those who made and make it possible for all of us to do all of that. I’ll also be doing what a couple hundred guys in our forces in Afghanistan will be doing – remembering two cute Memphis girls.

73. Pieces of the Puzzle -

Memphis City Council members left the city property tax rate at $3.19 Tuesday, June 21, as they ended their budget season.

But they added 18 cents to the tax rate on a one time basis with a separate resolution.

74. Council Approves ‘Right-Sizing’ Budget, Tax Hike -

While the Memphis City Council left the city property tax rate at $3.19 as it ended the budget season Tuesday, June 21, it added 18 cents to the tax rate on a one-time basis with a separate resolution.

75. Wharton to Present New Budget to Council -

Memphis City Council members will try again Tuesday, June 21, to approve a city budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. was expected to bring a new balanced budget proposal to the council as the week began.

76. City Council Delays Budget Approval -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said Tuesday’s 13-hour City Council budget marathon proves the city will get its economic house in order over several years instead of in the next fiscal year alone.

77. City Council Rejects 18-Cent Property Tax Hike -

The city of Memphis operating budget for the fiscal year to come July 1 is $11 million from being balanced.

The Memphis City Council voted on a series of 16 budget amendments Tuesday, June 7 in a marathon council session that began at 9 a.m. with the budget committee and ended shortly after 10 p.m.

78. Council Prepares for Long Budget Session -

Memphis City Council members have a long day ahead Tuesday, June 7, at City Hall with lots of numbers and important decisions.

The council will either finish its budget season Tuesday or could go into an overtime period that could stretch past the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.

79. To Bike or Not to Bike -

Reid Hedgepeth had heard vaguely about plans for the Shelby Farms Greenline when it began to take shape two years ago. But the City Council member didn’t quite know what to expect when the greenline began taking shape behind his home in High Point Terrace.

80. Municipal Unions Rally Against Conrad Proposal -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said Thursday, June 2, he is not “seeking privatization of any of the positions” held by members of the union that represents the city’s sanitation workers.

Wharton’s written statement came the day after Memphis City Council member Kemp Conrad presented a plan for balancing the city’s operating budget in the new fiscal year and beyond with several measures including privatizing or outsourcing the city’s garbage collection.

81. Council, Wharton Spar Over LayOffs -

Memphis City Council members and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. mixed it up Tuesday evening about where the line is drawn between the two branches of city government when it comes to planned city layoffs.

82. Council to Consider Sewer Fee, Postponing Layoffs -

A voting majority of Memphis City Council members seem to have reached an early agreement on lowering the city sewer fee.

At a 10 a.m. council committee session Tuesday, council members will discuss the proposed ordinance sponsored by eight of the 12 council members to cut the maximum monthly residential sanitary sewer fee from $50 to $25.

83. Cuts Point To City’s Shaky Budget Plan -

About this point three years ago, the current Memphis City Council – only four or five months in office – took the daring move of cutting the city’s property tax rate by 18 cents and cut funding to Memphis City Schools by $57 million.

84. City Seeks Fast Fairgrounds Development -

The $15 million creation of Tiger Lane last year at the Mid-South Fairgrounds happened within budget and so quickly that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration would like to use the method to venture into the more complex parts of the renovation of the city-owned property.

85. UP Exec, Local Group to Meet About Harahan Wagonway -

Union Pacific Railroad CEO James Young meets at the company’s headquarters in Omaha, Neb., Friday with a group from Memphis and West Memphis to talk about biking and hiking.

86. Local Group, UP to Discuss Harahan Bridge -

A delegation from Memphis led by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. will be in Omaha, Neb., next week to talk with Union Pacific railroad executives about a bicycle and pedestrian path across the Mississippi River.

87. Council Approves Midtown Overlay -

The Midtown overlay is a done deal with this week’s approval by the Memphis City Council.

And the final result is a set of development guidelines that now allows the CVS pharmacy at Union Avenue and Cooper Street that wasn’t allowed by the overlay in its previous form.

88. Council Redo On MCS Funding -

Memphis City Council members gave final approval Tuesday to a trio of pet ordinances, a new set of rules for false alarms, an amended Midtown overlay and approved a CVS pharmacy near the University of Memphis.

89. Time to Shine Lights on Tiger Lane -

The $15 million Tiger Lane project at the Mid-South Fairgrounds will get a “blue” opening Wednesday evening.

The blue isn’t from the University of Memphis Tigers’ opening loss of the football season. It is strings of blue lights from the East Parkway entrance to the western wall of the Liberty Bowl stadium.

90. Preservationists Strike Up Battle Hymn -

The Memphis City Council’s 10-2 vote Tuesday to approve plans for a CVS drug store on the corner of Union Avenue and Cooper Street seems to mean the demolition of Union Avenue United Methodist Church.

91. Midtown CVS Approved By Council -

Memphis City Council member approved a CVS drug store at Union Ave and Cooper St. on a 10-2 vote that followed a two hour debate.

The council also approved an amendment calling on the developers of the store to get as close as they can in their plans to requirements of the advisory Midtown overlay. The two exceptions to that are restrictions on a drive through window for the pharmacy and how far from the street the building can be.

92. City Council Gives UDC Green Light -

It is complex. It is tedious. Some of its proponents even call it boring. And it took six years to create.

This week the Memphis City Council gave final approval to a new Unified Development Code that won final approval the day before by the Shelby County Commission.

93. Bass Pro and Beyond -

"Adaptive reuse” is the term for what city leaders hope will happen at The Pyramid.

Throw in the Mid-South Fairgrounds and the Beale Street Landing projects, though, and “adaptive reuse” seems inadequate to define what is happening among the three concepts.

94. City Mulls Hiking Sanitation Fees -

Although there is no city property tax hike tied to the city budget the Memphis City Council will vote on next week, a $4.50 increase in the city solid waste fee is on the table as the council prepares for the new fiscal year July 1.

95. Funding Questions Haunt Beale Street Landing Project -

The president of the Riverfront Development Corp. said earlier this week the organization may have been too aggressive in pursuing the Beale Street Landing project, even when federal stimulus funding dried up.

96. Council Approves Robinson As City HR Director -

The Memphis City Council approved the appointment Tuesday of Quintin Robinson as the city’s new Human Resources Division director.

Robinson has worked in HR at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., as well as at The Commercial Appeal newspaper.

97. Fairgrounds Plan Has New Details -

Memphis City Council members took up a trio of high profile CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) Tuesday as they prepared for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

The Fairgrounds

Council members got their first look at detailed plans for “Tiger Lane”, the greenspace to be created at The Fairgrounds from East Parkway to the west side of The Liberty Bowl stadium by mid September.

98. Fairgrounds Work Continues Despite Flux -

On his way home from church one Sunday last month, Kevin Kane and his family decided to go by the Mid-South Fairgrounds to see what was left of the Zippin Pippin.

99. Fairgrounds Work Continues Despite Parking Questions -

The demolition and cleanup of the old Libertyland theme park is just about finished, and a 10-0 vote by the Memphis City Council this week means that and other work to create a “great lawn” at the Mid-South Fairgrounds will continue for now.

100. Fairgrounds Jump Start on Council's Agenda -  

Memphis City Council members will be called on today to jump start the stalled renovation of The Fairgrounds.

The push by the Liberty Bowl's three tenants is to get an immediate council vote on a plan to create a great lawn at the Fairgrounds and demolish seven buildings including the Pipkin Building.

An ad hoc committee including council members and representatives of the three tenants met Monday evening to talk about current demolition underway at the Fairgrounds.

The demolition of the old Libertyland amusement park caused some concern when it went into a parking area outside the park.

Southern Heritage Classic founder Fred Jones immediately began expressing concerns that the new activity as well as the digging of a temporary siltation pond would cut the number of parking spaces available for his annual Jackson State-Tennessee State football matchup.

The work was stopped several weeks ago as the council tried to sort out where the demolition ended and the creation of a “great lawn” during the brief tenure of Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery began.

“There’s a whole lot of work still being done,” Jones told the committee Monday evening of what he had seen earlier that day.

City Housing and Community Development director Robert Lipscomb said it was only a “clean up” of the area.

At Monday’s meeting, the three tenants of the football stadium said they back going ahead with the great lawn project as long as the lawn, in some form, and a plan to demolish the seven buildings, most of which are livestock barns, can all be done by the time football resumes at the Liberty Bowl with the Sept. 11 Southern Heritage Classic.

Some of the demolition contracts run out next week.

Jones said he supports the concept of a great lawn from East Parkway to the stadium. But he questioned whether the plans would increase the number of parking spaces from the current 5,372 within the Fairgrounds property to 7,568.

“We need to know exactly what we have. I don’t mean conceptually,” Jones said. “You’re not creating new spaces.”

Architect Tom Marshall, the city’s consultant on the project, insisted new and more parking will be created with the demolition of the buildings and Libertyland.

Marshall offered to come up with a detailed map showing individual parking spaces for today’s council discussion expected to begin during executive session at 1pm.

“I’ll even put in big cars,” he told Jones at one point.

Jones was the only no vote in the seven member committee vote to ask the city council for immediate approval of the project.

“I’m not really satisfied with what I’ve seen,” he said after he and others said the work by some divisions of the city including the Park Services division didn’t mesh with what other parts of city government were saying. “It’s just too convenient that the park services people weren’t here. Every time we say there is additional parking, I have not seen it.”

Council member Reid Hedgepeth moderated the session, trying to keep all of those involved from discussing past mis-steps.

“From now on people are going to know what’s happening,” he said. “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it. If not … let’s send them home,” he said referring to demolition crews.

Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart said pre bowl game events should have some kind of building on the grounds to host them. Lipscomb said a tent will serve the purpose even though Ehrhart would prefer one of the surviving Fairgrounds buildings.

“A tent would be better than those buildings,” Lipscomb said.

Marshall estimated what is known as phase one of The Fairgrounds overhaul could cost $6-million to $9-million. There are no plans for a second phase or anything else beyond the great lawn and the building demolition.

The phase one cost could vary depending on bids and design work still to be done. Construction would start in June. But the council could vote on a specific design in April or May.

“We’re supportive of it,” University of Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson said near the end of the two hour session. “I’m more and more concerned about the land. But we want to move on it.”

The construction of the Salvation Army Kroc Center on a Fairgrounds lot along East Parkway next to Fairview Junior High School is independent of the city’s on again-off again plans for the rest of the Fairgrounds property including phase one.

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