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VOL. 131 | NO. 149 | Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Union Turns A Corner, Parkside's TIF and Bee Cause

By Bill Dries

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There hasn’t been this much excitement since right turn on red came to town 40 years ago.

In less than a week you will be able to make a left turn onto McLean Boulevard from Union Avenue eastbound and westbound. And the traffic signal that lets you do that will flash a yellow arrow that indicates you can turn left if there are no pedestrians and no cars coming the other way.

A lot of you were marking this occasion with Instagrams of the city work crew preparing the intersection for the installation. And by a lot of you, I mean those who weren’t playing Pokemon Go at one of the busiest intersections in the city.

This is connected to the Midtown Market development that is about to begin on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Some speculation Tuesday about how the turn signal will mesh with the Starbucks overhang of traffic that lines up to turn into the parking lot there. For now, the cars of those who go eastbound on Union through the intersection will probably continue to avoid that lane out of habit.

Some talk of post-Democratic convention plans that come through Tennessee already underway in Philadelphia according to The Tennessean.

There is specifically talk of a Clinton fundraiser and rally in Nashville.

The most profound post-convention journey we’ve seen over here was after the Los Angeles convention that made U.S. Senator and Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee the Democratic presidential nominee in 2000.

The day after that convention, Republican nominee and Texas Gov. George W. Bush was in Bartlett to rally the Republican majority in the suburbs and serve notice that he would not cede Gore’s home state.

Bush won Tennessee and the state has gone for every Republican Presidential nominee since.

When Clinton campaigned in Memphis in advance of the March Presidential primaries here, she vowed to try to put the state back in the Democratic column.

That was a very long time ago as political statements go.

With all of this attention on the November ballot, some of you apparently have forgotten there is an August election. Early voter turnout in advance of the Aug. 4 election day is much lower than it was four years ago for the same election cycle. But it’s above the same election cycle in 2008.

Make of that what you will. It is an odd election cycle that becomes even more irregular every 12 years when there are no statewide primaries for governor or U.S. Senate on the ballot.

“This shouldn’t take long.” Famous last words. But, really, the Shelby County Commission’s special meeting Wednesday at noon shouldn’t take long at all.

The only item on the agenda is third and final vote on the ordinance that keeps the Shelby County property tax rate at a stable $4.37.

The commission has already approved the county consolidated budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 which effectively locked in the tax rate along with the allocation of the rate – where the money goes.

Nevertheless, there might be some discussion about a tax rate rollback from some commissioners who are resigned to keeping the tax rate as is for this fiscal year but will try again next April.

However long it takes we will be @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, to fill you in on what happens even if it is the expected.

At City Hall, some kudos from the state and two rating agencies on progress in righting the city's financial condition. And one of the notes from the ratings agencies talks about the financial challenges ahead for the city.

The developer of Parkside at Shelby Farms is talking a TIF to finance infrastructure improvements around the mixed use site on the northern edge of Shelby Farms Park that includes three residential towers on the park’s edge.

TIF is tax increment financing. The Parkside development would be the TIF zone with an increment of the increased property tax it generates being used to finance the considerable work that is going to be have to be done on Mullins Station east of Kirby-Whitten and the Kirby Whitten-Mullins Station intersection as well as Patmore Road in the single family residential area by Parkside.

The developer, Bob Turner, says there is enough increment to even finance part of Shelby Farms Parkway, the four-lane road on the drawing board of state planners in one form or another since Ronald Reagan was in his first term as President and Lamar Alexander was Governor.

This wouldn’t be the first use of a TIF here. A TIF is financing the infrastructure improvements connected to the $36.8 million Shops at Millington Farms retail development on Highway 51 that broke ground earlier this month.

The intensive care unit at Methodist South hospital is getting a complete renovation that includes larger patient rooms in the ICU and a more modern layout for nurse stations to keep the vigilant watch on patient rooms that is a standard of care in such units.

This is part of larger renovations that have been underway at Methodist South for several years now.

The ICU renovation is expected to begin in August and take about 15 months to complete.

Memphis-based RVC Outdoor Destinations is adding honeybee hives to the natural surroundings and outdoor recreation amenities at all of its properties across the country – eight already have the hives of 50,000 bees each.

It’s part of the effort to slow the loss of bees from colony collapse disorder.

The hives are fenced off from the rest of the properties with some educational exhibits. The colonies also have environments that include the kind of flowers bees like and a water source.

In Nashville, no special session call from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on the Jeremy Durham scandal. But Haslam renewed his call on the state Rep. from Franklin to resign after an Attorney General’s investigation concluded Durham had sexually harassed numerous women working on Capitol Hill. Durham is up for re-election this year and has opposition in the August primaries. So, whether he stays or goes could be resolved in about a week by voters.


Home prices rising and sales grow.

Steady on consumer confidence.

A forecast of growth in retail sales.

McDonald’s turnaround still an open question even with all-day breakfast

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047