City Council seeks to disband group in charge of Beale Street


A Memphis City Council committee approved disbanding the agency tasked with finding a permanent manager for Beale Street.

Council members are not happy with the way Beale Street has been managed, but now more uncertainty looms over Memphis' top tourist destination.

The committee approved an ordinance that, if passed, would give City Council the power to disband Beale Street Tourism Development Authority at any time before May 21.

It's a move that's been brewing for months starting with accusations of racism and sinister motives in January.

Beale Street Tourism Development Authority was created in 2015 to find a manager for Beale Street. The group has failed to do so  despite multiple requests for proposals.

"Every day that Beale Street goes on without a permanent manager is hurting the street," Beale Street Merchants Association Executive Director Ken Taylor said.

Downtown Memphis Commission has been running the street temporarily and has expressed interest in doing the job full time.

"We stand ready and committed to manage the street on a longer term basis," Downtown Memphis Commission President and CEO Terence Patterson said.

The ordinance approved in committee would authorize Mayor Jim Strickland to put the management contract out for bid.

The administration said Tuesday it's too soon to speculate further about the results of that action.

"We just heard about this today, so we will take our time to learn a bit more about what that means for us," Memphis COO Doug McGowen said.

As for the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority, its attorney wouldn't answer any questions about Tuesday's developments.

The full council will vote on the ordinance April 11th

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