How Did We Get Here?

Commentary: On the Mid-South Fairgrounds

by Jordan Danelz

How Did We Get Here?

Commentary: On the Mid-South Fairgrounds

by Jordan Danelz

This article is being brought to you by HomeTown Home Services, Is it time for a Home Improvement?

Lets slow down here and go back to the very beginning of all of this.

Who designed and created this massive 230 million dollar project for the fairgrounds? Was it you Mayor Jim Strickland? Was it the community of Memphis? No it was not. While we realize the city held public meetings over the years about the use of the Fairgrounds – they did not listen to anybody. The city decided with very little public input that our fairgrounds should be turned into over 400,000 square feet of unnamed retail along with tearing down the coliseum to build a massive sporting complex.

Lets slow down here and go back to the very beginning of all of this.

Who designed and created this massive 230 million dollar project for the fairgrounds? Was it you Mayor Jim Strickland? Was it the community of Memphis? No it was not. While we realize the city held public meetings over the years about the use of the Fairgrounds – they did not listen to anybody. The city decided with very little public input that our fairgrounds should be turned into over 400,000 square feet of unnamed retail along with tearing down the coliseum to build a massive sporting complex.

Jordan Danelz

wrote this awhile back!

Oddly the new plan being sold to the city includes much of the same old thinking as all the plans before it. Our community is still not being listened to and again the focus is on a sports complex.

Lets not forget that the retail is what they are really after. Big Box stores hiding in the Trojan horse that is a children’s sporting complex. It’s just textbook sleight of hand. Take public land from the citizens, give it to the private sector and sell it to the people by saying “Its for the children.” Once the city had their strategy in place they went after a consulting firm that would legitimize their
ideas.

So where would the city start? How about the same consulting firm that has overseen every major development in Memphis over the past ten years. They’ve been hired unopposed and without competition: RKG ASSOCIATES. You know. A company that lives here and understands what Memphis is about right? Wrong.

They are an out of state consulting firm from Dover New Hampshire. Our tax dollars are being sent out of state year after year to a company with no allegiance to Memphis so they can tell us how to build the future of our city over the next several decades. Look them up. It’s public information. They are doing this all across the country and as I speak to you tonight about them, someone in another city like ours is probably doing the same thing.

We have an IDEA!

Let’s find a Win/Win for this city!

JustMyMemphis has been listening to the people of our great city. We have heard Mayor Jim Strickland‘s plans for the Fairgrounds. On December 1st we will share an idea that just might give the Mayor and the Community a Win/Win that will have the entire nation talking about the Greatness of Memphis! It’s time for a Win!

They are the ones telling us that we want a massive shopping center in midtown. That we want big box stores at the fairgrounds. Not a park, but Target. Not a lake, but Old Navy. Not Frisbee Golf, but Sports Authority or Petco. Am I forgetting something? Is this not public land? Should this development not be civic minded? After all it is our neighborhood A our homes.

This is a quote from RKG Associates: “RKG Associates concluded retail on the fairgrounds site… would compete with retail in Overton Square… as well as CooperAYoung… There are now more stores than demand in the general area. Most all of the sales activity would be reallocated sales already occurring elsewhere in Memphis.” So much for the tourist dollars…

So we’ve addressed the origin of the cities desire to build a sprawling retail outlet. Now lets move on to the second portion of the development – a sports complex. You’re going to start to notice a theme here. Yep you’ve guessed it. The city hired another out of state consulting firm from Chicago Illinois named CH JOHNSON CONSULTING. Of course, they confirmed the cities desire to build a massive sporting complex. After all why would they not? This is CH Johnson’s specialty. It’s right there on their website. They are currently building sports complexes in Warren County Ohio, Barnstable Massachusetts, Rockford Illinois, Branson Missouri and now Memphis Tennessee. So how can we get a fair idea of what could happen at the fairgrounds if the only consulting firm we hired had baseball fields and sports complexes in their minds from the very beginning. If we would have hired a firm that focused on a general use discovery of the land, who knows what kind of amazing possibilities we could have to choose from for our fairgrounds.

It just comes down to lack of choice and lack of voice.

So I ask you…. Say NO to top down city building. Say NO to cut and paste profits. The city needs to rethink this whole project. Fire these out of touch, out of state consulting firms and get back to the community, bring our tax dollars back to the community so we can hire local and build something remarkable. Something that grabs the attention of the nation and stands the test of time. Not a Target and some baseball fields. As I’ve already stated, this type of complex exists in many other cities already, and I’m sure many cities to come in the future if these two firms have it their way. Cut and Paste, cut and paste, cut and paste.

It just comes down to lack of choice and lack of voice.

So I ask you…. Say NO to top down city building. Say NO to cut and paste profits. The city needs to rethink this whole project. Fire these out of touch, out of state consulting firms and get back to the community, bring our tax dollars back to the community so we can hire local and build something remarkable. Something that grabs the attention of the nation and stands the test of time. Not a Target and some baseball fields. As I’ve already stated, this type of complex exists in many other cities already, and I’m sure many cities to come in the future if these two firms have it their way. Cut and Paste, cut and paste, cut and paste.

Look – I chose to make midtown my home because of its uniqueness. There is nothing cut and paste about it. We have to preserve this. People come from every part of Memphis to spend their money here. At the end of the day, what will make profit in midtown is our uniqueness. The TDZ plan is anything but unique.

#BeAmazing

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