Memphis Council delays AutoZone Park until Dec 17 - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis Council delays AutoZone Park until Dec 17

Posted: Updated:
  • Memphis Council delays AutoZone Park until Dec 17More>>

  • Get FOX13 Breaking News on your mobile device

    Get FOX13 Breaking News on your mobile device

    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
    Get breaking news alerts on your mobile device direct from the FOX13 news desk. On average, you could get as many as three to five alerts on a busy day, as the news merits. Just fill out the form below
    Get breaking news alerts on your mobile device direct from the FOX13 news desk. On average, you could get as many as three to five alerts on a busy day, as the news merits. Just fill out the form below
DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Memphis City Council voted Monday evening to delay the vote for the city purchasing AutoZone Park until their next meeting on Dec. 17.

Council debated whether to buy AutoZone Park and allow the St. Louis Cardinals to take ownership of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League.

The plan is to buy the ballpark for $25 million and then lease it back to the Cardinals who will, by then, own the Redbirds, for $300,000 a year.

This issue is now dealing with a legislative delay because some of the council members are pretty upset, actually livid, that the Wharton administration provided new facts, figures and documents to the council late on Friday, Dec. 6.

Some council members had only time to research the documents Friday and right before the meeting. Some members of council was asking to delay a vote for at least two weeks but settled on Dec. 17. There was concern what the taxpayers would be put in jeopardy if the sales tax revenue doesn't live up to projections.

There was also concern on what would happen if the Cardinals would decide at some moment that they are not thrilled about AutoZone Park, as they apparently are, should they decide to move to another city and leave Memphis hanging and paying $25 million and a 15-year lease if the Cardinals decided to leave.

"It's democracy at its best," Mayor A C Wharton said after council delayed the ballpark purchase vote. "There are legitimate questions being asked. Everybody feels in a way that they need to do this for the city. But the council needs is checks and balances, separation of powers. We're going to keep trying to answer all the questions until a deal is in the best interest for all parties concerned and the citizens of Memphis."

Mayor Wharton believed his presentation for the city to purchase AutoZone Park was a good deal.

"If someone has a better deal, heck everyone wants a better deal," the mayor said. "My job is to be patient. This is about the citizens and the taxpayer's money. We're going to stay the course and hopefully the council will see fit to approve it. But if they do not the people will have spoken."

-------

FOX13 News anchor Greg Coy contributed to this report.

 

-------

(from earlier)

We're expecting a lot of debate on if this is a home run deal or strike out.

How it would work is that the City of Memphis would purchase the park for about $25-million and lease it to the St. Louis Cardinals. The St. Louis Cardinals would also purchase the Memphis Redbirds team.

The Center City Revenue Finance Corporation would issue the bonds needed for the city to purchase the park.

DOWNLOAD: Potential Acquisition of AutoZone Park

In the tentative agreement the City of Memphis would then lease the stadium to the Cardinals for $300,000 annually.

MORE: Resolution OKs $26M bond funding to purchase AutoZone Park

There have been mixed reviews from Paul Morris, "Our job was to structure the transaction in a way that was advantageous for the city, the Cardinals and the community, SO, we're not really opining whether it's a good deal or not. That's not our role. That's the role that's the role the elected officials and city hall."

Jim Strickland says, "That part doesn't bother me that they've acted before we did," Councilman Jim Strickland said. "Even if the county commission acts before we did, it doesn't affect my decision one way or the other. I have serious questions and serious doubts about that deal."

Out of this proposed deal the City of Memphis is assured that the Redbirds franchise will stay in Memphis at AutoZone for 27-years and that the St. Louis Cardinals will make $15 million in stadium improvements.

Mayor A C Wharton said at the beginning of December that this is a difficult decision to make. It's hard to convince people that in order to grow the city you have to spend the money.

Follow us: @myfoxmemphis on Twitter | fox13news.myfoxmemphis on Facebook

Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices