Things get personal in Pyramid proposal debate - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Things get personal in Pyramid proposal debate

Greg Ericson is not holding back.

"Robert Lipscomb's a fool," said Ericson.

That's how he describes the man he partly blames for his Pyramid proposal's downfall.

"Robert Lipscomb needs to step back and work for the citizens of Memphis and not for Bass Pro," said Ericson.

Lipscomb, who is the city's point-man for the Pyramid's redevelopment, has been one of Bass Pro's biggest cheerleaders.  He's in favor of turning the empty arena into a huge sporting goods store rather than seriously entertaining Ericson's theme park pitch. 

"It's just I felt it was the best opportunity for citizens  -- and I still think that," said Lipscomb.

Action News 5 was the only news crew at a meeting Wednesday as a joint city-county committee learned Ericson's plan was off the table. 

"It was a distraction from day one," said Lipscomb.

"If Robert Lipscomb thinks that our plan is a distraction to him -- I'd say he needs to be able to handle more," said Ericson.

Ericson claims he had the financial backing to make the theme park plan work.  However, he says the wheels of government were just too slow for his financial partners.  City and county leaders don't buy it.  They say Bass pro may be easier to reel in with Ericson out of the way.

"This will resolve much of the debate -- hopefully it will -- and give us a solid ground to move forward with," said Shelby County CAO Jim Huntzicker.

"It's the only viable option," said Lipscomb.  "Luckily, they're still interested," he added.

Lipscomb stopped short of saying just when a Bass Pro might occupy this building.  Meantime, Ericson says there is a slight chance he'd be willing to come back to the table.  For now, he says he and his investors are moving onto bigger and better things.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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