Day of debate over park names

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton laid his position on the parks on the table Tuesday morning.

"As far as I'm concerned this parks controversy is a dead issue," said Herenton during a committee meeting.

But it's alive and well to people who want to preserve the parks and those who want the names stripped away.

"Are we going to live in the Civil War times or move forward?" asked one Memphian during Tuesday night's council meeting.

He was one of several people who waited four hours to address council members. Some let their emotions speak for themselves.

"Glory hallelujah, glory hallelujah, glory hallelujah, let peace be unto you guys," shouted one man.

But the council wasn't in a position to make any kind of decision. The mayor's proposal to turn Forrest Park over to the University of Tennessee never made it out of committee.

"There was a couple of council members that wanted to address certain issues--they will be addressed and the item will come back before us," Parks Committee Chairman Scott McCormick told us.

Meantime, adversaries over the issue worked toward compromise outside.

"I'm putting on the table to create a Civil War museum," said Rainbow/PUSH Coalition President, Rev. LaSimba Gray.

His proposal also calls for the selling of all three parks. One member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was at least willing to listen.

"As far as the museum idea--it's a good start," said Lee Millar.

Selling all three parks might prove impossible. Councilman McCormick tells us the city has no control over the two parks down by the river. He says it could be months before Forrest Park's future comes before the council again.