Part of Shelby Farms should be sold, commissioner says - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Part of Shelby Farms should be sold, commissioner says

Commissioner Bailey has been on the county commission since the 1970s; he says back then they released a study about use of the 4,500-acre land at Shelby Farms. Commissioner Bailey has been on the county commission since the 1970s; he says back then they released a study about use of the 4,500-acre land at Shelby Farms.
Sell part of Shelby Farms for property tax revenue? That's what one Shelby County Commissioner is proposing. Sell part of Shelby Farms for property tax revenue? That's what one Shelby County Commissioner is proposing.

(WMC) - Sell part of Shelby Farms for property tax revenue? That is what one Shelby County Commissioner is proposing.

It came up during a meeting this week while commissioners were discussing how to improve inner city access to the park. County Commissioner Walter Bailey is all alone on the issues, but it is getting a lot of people talking.

Commissioner Bailey has been on the county commission since the 1970s; he says back then they released a study about use of the 4,500-acre land at Shelby Farms.

"How much is enough? This park is 4,500 acres. It had a value back in 2002 as appraised by a real estate agent, as $200 million," said commissioner Bailey.

Bailey wants to repurpose some of the space at Shelby Farms, but he wouldn't specifically say which land and for what purpose, instead speaking generally.

"Four thousand five hundred acres, which is six times more than Central Park. Then that raises the question, what's reasonable? Do we need it or are we out there massaging our egos as having one of the biggest urban parks in the country?" said commissioner Bailey.

"It's a park, everybody likes to go out there. Quit taking stuff and making taxes and making more pollution. I think it's a horrible idea," said resident Nancy Miller.

"I think it's a bad idea, I think it should stay like it is," said another resident, Janie Palazolo.

Right now, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy is operating, maintaining and raising private money for the park. They have a contract with the county, but Bailey says there is a better use for the space, citing a study done in the 1970s.

"Wouldn't it make far more sense to put some of that property on the tax row. Let the community as a whole, tax payer, benefit from that enormous value we've got in terms of use," said commissioner Bailey.

Critics of Bailey's proposal say the park already raises more money in private funding than county taxes would. However, Monday the county commission added $70,000 for MATA funding to place a fixed bus route on to Shelby Farms on the weekends. Their goal: improve access to the park for inner city families.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
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