Commissioner proposes county give city control of Memphis landmarks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioner proposes county give city control of Memphis landmarks

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A deal is on the table for Memphis to buy Shelby County's share of the Pyramid Arena, the Liberty Bowl and the Coliseum.

A new Shelby County Commission resolution calls for the county to sell the City of Memphis its 50% share of the Pyramid, 40% share of the Coliseum and its half of the land underneath the Liberty Bowl.

Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism said the resolution, which he authored, would allow the county to give more raises and relieve $60 million in obligations.

"I think you'll probably be saving on an ongoing basis a million and a half, two million a year," he said.

But fellow Commissioner Steve Mulroy is not too keen on the deal - specifically its price tag for the three landmarks.

Tuesday, Mulroy said the Pyramid is just as important to the county as it is to the city.

"The Pyramid is our iconic structure. It's the base of downtown. It's just too important for the county to just wipe its hands free and give it over to the city," he said.

There is a perception in political ranks that Chism is doing the will of his longtime friend Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

"If you ask me whether he's a friend of mine, he's probably one of the best friends I've got. But in saying that I don't put him in a position where he has to justify talking about an issue...he's never put me in that position," Chism said.

In fact, Chism said, this is solely about easing the county's burden.

"I think you'll probably be saving on an ongoing basis a million and a half, two million a year," he said.

Mulroy said he believes the county should get an honest appraisal to determine the value of the property before they consider selling it off.

The resolution goes to the county's Economic Development and Tourism Committee Wednesday.


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