Mayor addresses council on parks issue

They might be more appropriately named the Troublesome Three: Forrest, Confederate and Jefferson Davis Parks.

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton made it clear Tuesday in a city council committee meeting that renaming the parks and removing the statues and graves is an idea that is over.

"I think to have all of these community discussions to have this referendum and to continue to fuel the flames, it doesn't work in the long term interests of the city," Herenton said.

The mayor made several proposals in a resolution to the committee. He wants to lease Forrest Park to U.T. Memphis. The university would maintain the park, something a spokesperson said the university would love to do. Problems would arise, however, if the university wanted to change anything in the park: the city administration would have to approve it.

"I was willing to support the lease as long as it had to come back to the city council for approval prior to any changes to the park," said city council member Carol Chumney.

The mayor's resolution died when no one on the committee seconded the motion.

"I've given my suggestions," said council member Myron Lowrey, "Possibly a referendum, and more community conversations. We'll see where it goes from there."

The mayor said he wants Confederate and Jefferson Davis parks to fall under the authority of the Riverfront Development Corporation. The head of the RDC said the organization wants to keep the parks as parks.