Council throws slider in AutoZone Park purchase deal - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Council throws slider in AutoZone Park purchase deal

Posted: Updated:
  • Council throws slider in AutoZone Park purchase dealMore>>

  • 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) -

In the fight over the sale of AutoZone Park the Memphis city council is now prepared to play some "hard ball" of their own.

The council has told the Wharton administration to offer a lower price of $15 million to purchase the stadium to avoid the possibility of taxpayers being burdened by the purchase. The council will now vote on the issue Dec. 17.

MORE: Memphis Council delays AutoZone Park vote until Dec 17

But before Dec. 17, the Shelby County Commission stands on deck to take a look at the stadium purchase on Wednesday.

Among baseball's many rules is the necessity for the batter to touch all the bases if he manages to score. Last week the Wharton administration attempted to go the usually dangerous route of going from first to home on a single appearance before reluctant city council members.

Now the council has decided to man the coaching boxes.

Council realized after getting the "brushback" pitch from city administration last week it was time Monday night to toss back their own "high and hard one" in the proposed AutoZone Park deal.

"After the council realized that the administration had not negotiated with fundamental advisors or the Cardinals, the council took it  upon itself to negotiate it," said Councilman Harold Collins.

In their first sign of assertiveness, since they were almost bowled over to accept a deal for the city to buy the downtown baseball stadium for $25 million in tandem with the St. Louis Cardinals buying ownership of their cash-strapped Triple-A team, the council came up with a hardline proposal of their own which all the parties will take up again on Dec. 17.

The major alteration was to cut the sale of the stadium to $15 million, with among other stipulations, putting a cap on the money that could be needed for any renovation or maintenance costs.

"My real reason is to keep the price as low as possible," Councilman Jim Strickland said. "So, the taxpayers are not at risk of using taxpayer dollars to supplement this deal."

Even as the Wharton administration goes back to the bargaining table with the revamped offer, another governmental body will find itself stepping up to the plate on Wednesday. A Shelby County Commission committee will recommend whether to go along with the stadium's sale as part of an agreement paving the way for the facility's construction. Is anyone on the commission ready to toss up a "knuckleball" of their own?

"There's always some potential for snags with the county commission," said Commissioner Steve Basar, commission co-chairman. "I would hope it's going to be more like the transfer of the ownership for the FedExForum. We had to approve that deal."

"I can appreciate the city council and the county commission wanting to know more about the process and how we got to this point," said County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

A non-active but interested observer is Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who is fully aware of the state comptroller's warning to Memphis government to find avoid was of incurring further debts.

"I also have a lot of faith in the local leadership here to address those issues," Gov. Haslam said, who was in Memphis on Tuesday. "Whether it be the long term impact of the pension or some other thing, the leadership understands we have to address those things."

Click here to leave a comment on our Facebook page
Click here to comment on our Twitter

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 | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices