Herenton sings praises of new convention center

Rapping with Blues legend Ruby Wilson at an event downtown. Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton is singing the praises of a new proposal.
"If I could wave a magic wand, I would build a new convention center," Dr. Willie Herenton said.

Herenton has convened a committee to study the idea of replacing the current facility, which dates back to 1974.

Although additions, built in the last decade, cost taxpayers millions more than projected.
"We gonna do a feasibility study, and if it's feasible and we can make it work, we'll do it. If it's not feasible, then we don't do it," Herenton said.

It's clear where the mayor stands. And he believes the estimated half-billion or more price-tag for a new convention center would be worth every penny.

"If you don't remain competitive, you lose opportunity," Herenton said.

He'd like to take that magic wand of his and make room for the venue near the entertainment district downtown.

Some have suggested the area between FedExForum and Autozone Park, where a Tattoo Parlor and the King's Court Motel currently sit.

"Competition is always something that's evolving, you can stand still and you will literally stand still," Herenton said.

He believes it is time to get moving on a project that would take years to complete.

And plenty of political will to win people over. 
The mayor said the current convention center here could have multiple re-uses.

The Canon Center addition could still host the symphony and other concerts.

The committee studying the feasibility of a new facility has yet to even hire a consultant.

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