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VOL. 131 | NO. 15 | Thursday, January 21, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: The View Across The Harbor, Crosstown Undercurrents and Bonnaroo

By Bill Dries

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The fishing puns are overpowering as Bass Pro Shops expresses its interest in redeveloping Mud Island River Park, on the other side of the city harbor from the Pyramid Bass Pro Shops opened at just this past May.
Bass Pro Shops is one of five companies to express interest in Mud Island as part of the process by the Riverfront Development Corporation to go a different way with the park.
The RDC released the names of the companies Thursday.
Earlier this month, we outlined the RVC Outdoor Destinations proposal.
We don’t know nearly as much about what Bass Pro Shops has in mind or the other three firms.
All five now head for what amounts to a second round in which they submit specific plans to a search committee of the RDC including how they will pay for their plans.

This is not the first time a tenant at the Pyramid has looked across the harbor at Mud Island and thought about combining the two.
Who remembers Rakapolis and Festival Island?
The first experience with combining the two is now a Memphis legend that if you were writing a novel you couldn’t create with this much richness.
More importantly, 25 years after Sidney Shlenker came to town his failed efforts on both sides of the harbor inform the way we’ve looked at every significant attempt since at a signature, or as we were fond of saying in the 1990s – “world class” – undertaking.
The fable will surely be told anew with the Bass Pro Shops interest. But don’t expect much agreement on the moral of the story.
To some Shlenker’s story is a warning. To others, Shlenker was a catalyst, however unintentional, with some wisdom just beneath the carnival pitchman demeanor he came to town with. And to still other Memphians, Shlenker’s memory and meaning is as both menace and prophet.

A postscript to our stories earlier this week about the Overton Park Greensward controversy.
The Overton Park Conservancy board has agreed to take part in the mediation suggested by Mayor Jim Strickland Tuesday.
Now awaiting word from the board of the Memphis Zoo because this process definitely takes two. Then again, so does a lawsuit.

UPDATE: The Zoo agreed to mediation Tuesday.

More background on our Wednesday story about the draft agreement for a Crosstown High School. There are a lot of undercurrents that come into play with this proposal.

Andy Meek again on the CEO trail. This time it’s the CEO of Xedo North America, a tuxedo company that touts online rentals of tuxedos with a Memphis headquarters and distribution center.
The U.S. tuxedo market is valued at around $1.5 billion, per the story.

Before there was Southwind and the FedEx St. Jude Golf tournament, there was Colonial Country Club and the Danny Thomas Golf Classic.
Now there are plans to take out one of Colonial’s golf courses, build houses there and keep the other more storied golf course that you could once see in the blazing Memphis summer both on color and black and white television.

A Canadian company is assembling the pieces for a planned office park south of Interstate 240 near Memphis International Airport.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has more potential opposition as the 9th Congressional District Democratic primary begins to take shape. Still a long way to go to the April 7 filing deadline.

Talk to anyone who has gone from reporting on a mayoral administration to being part of the administration and you will likely hear that person say that the things they suspected as a reporter usually didn’t allow for the things that happened by accident or by chance within the administration. Everything that happens is not part of a larger scheme.
With that in mind, the latest in our series of profiles of the chiefs of the Strickland administration at City Hall is on chief communications officers Ursula Madden.

When he was on our Behind The Headlines program last week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam was unequivocal about school vouchers he’s proposed over several legislative sessions.
“We will support any bill that focuses on low-income kids and low-performing schools,” he said. “Something that broadens past that, we are not ready to go there yet.”
That something has started to move in the legislature.

Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard’s View From The Hill on State Rep. Jeremy Durham, the Republican state House majority whip who held on to his leadership position at the start of this year’s session.

And Bonnaroo headliners are announced for June. Something to consider as you buy the obligatory bread and milk in anticipation of … French toast Friday.

What did you think I was talking about?

PROPERTY SALES 61 262 16,169
MORTGAGES 28 132 10,054
BUILDING PERMITS 88 424 38,360
BANKRUPTCIES 36 92 7,564