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VOL. 133 | NO. 86 | Monday, April 30, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Graceland Campaign, NFL Draft Run Down and Heritage Trail's Story

By Bill Dries

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Riverside Drive is partially closed through Tuesday and then completely closed starting Wednesday marking the official start of Memphis In May and much of what is spring and summer in Memphis. Following close behind is registration for the Dragon Boat Races in mid-May. But it’s not all fun and games and detouring as you draw close to the river.

Yes, this is an election week – Tuesday is election day after an early voting period that drew 41,301 early voters in the county primaries – about 8 percent of our 500,000 voters in Shelby County. Most voting in the Democratic primary but increases in the turnout for the Democratic and Republican primaries from 2010 and from 2014. So will this be a blue wave or a red tide or both? More on this when next we meet.

Here is the rest of The Week Ahead.

Graceland's push for the next phase of its Whitehaven expansion including an arena goes to the Shelby County Commission Monday for an early test of the appeal by managing partner Joel Weinshanker last week.

Among those items you will see that the Shelby County Commission is meeting Monday and this is where the rubber meets the road in Graceland's attempt to move public reaction in favor of its Whitehaven arena plan. Graceland Holdings managing partner Joel Weinshanker opened this campaign, in effect, Thursday with a town hall meeting at Guest House. He seemed to hit all of the right notes with the 150 or so people there including complaining about all of the shows going to Landers Center and sporadic power outages as well as the long delayed streetscape improvements for Elvis Presley Boulevard. But he and Mayor Jim Strickland traded dueling statements about each other Friday.

Tigers wide receiver Anthony Miller is on his way to the Chicago Bears after last week's NFL draft with other Tigers players also making their way to the pros.

Jimmie Tucker and Juan Self are the force behind the renovation and reuse of the Universal LIfe Insurance building, a project that is a trailhead of sorts for the Heritage Trail of historic sites.

In our Around Memphis reading list, we include a local tech startup going after hackers and a Booker T. Jones memoir on the way.

As the weekend began, Tigers wide receiver Anthony Miller drafted by the Chicago Bears and a bit later linebacker Genard Avery by the Cleveland Browns. No pick for quarterback Riley Ferguson but he is a free agent with Tampa Bay.

The cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, is all about Heritage Trail – the set of historic sites that is the foundation for building some stability into the South City redevelopment effort. The area has a considerable history that isn’t always top of mind in the most often-told version of our considerable story. Heritage Trail offers some history to touch and feel including what has to be considered a palace of sorts of black commerce and enterprise – the Universal Life Insurance building which is just about to open to the business of a new age and time.

Such areas of history are much different than what we consider tourist hot spots – places specifically for visitors as well as locals to come and visit. The deeper dive, it could be argued, is an invitation to do more than be a visitor. It’s an invitation to come be a part of the continuing story of that area.

History tends to go outside borders we set up for it. And that is the case with the resurgence of interest in many part of the Memphis story. We include a web extra with the cover story that looks at the marker unveiled earlier this month at the site of the Forrest slave market.

EDGE reports those getting PILOTs are exceeding goals for business to business contracts with local, minority and women-owned businesses.

Triumph Bank reports a slight dip in net income for its year-end 2017 figures as it expands outside of Memphis into the medical and professional banking areas. The bank reported 20 percent growth in its assets as it closed the books on 2017 with $722.4 million in assets.

The Memphis News Almanac: Rain on its way down the river, John Ford reports to prison, Jeff Buckley at Barrister’s and South Memphis ax murder.

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108