Profitable Parks?

To the Editor:

Andrew Wilkins' article "Parks For Sale" (May 24th issue) brings forth the question, "In whose interest does the Riverfront Development Commission really serve?" Although deemed "not-for-profit," someone is obviously profiting! The very thought of removing the downtown fire station and library and replacing them with "retail or housing" certainly indicates that other powers are at work. What are Benny Lindermon and his cohorts' true intentions and source of motivation? Someone is going to profit by turning these spaces into retail or housing and I call into question the RDC's integrity. This land was donated to the city for public use, not commercialization!

According to Mr. Lindermon, "The fire station and library create almost a barrier between downtown and the riverfront," and he furthermore refers to it as a "dead zone." Well, if they feel that way, tear down the fire station and library and create a park that would provide a real service to the public. How nice it would be to have another "green zone" overlooking the river. It would provide a beautiful setting for downtowners to escape for lunch, added space for the already overcrowded Memphis in May activities, and a more aesthetic look to Front Street.

Let's keep Memphis beautiful!

Ted O'Brien, Memphis

Not Surprising

To the Editor:

It's not surprising that Mayor Herenton would set up an expensive program that would only aid one of his fallen from grace Praetorian Guards (City Reporter, May 17th issue). What concerns me is that it duplicates the ex-felon employment program that's been so effective in filling the ranks of the city council.

Neil Nokes, Eads, TN


To the Editor:

If John Branston goes to the Racquet Club to watch an NBA game, he is defeating the purpose of going to the Racquet Club ("Random Thoughts," May 17th issue). Next time I am at the basketball complex on Mount Moriah, I'll look to see if anybody is checking out the Pete Sampras match.

I disagree with Branston's assumption that just because the NBA franchise will not have a great many employees its impact will not be as great as an investment in a conventional corporation. Other than FedEx and St. Jude, how many local businesses or organizations bring positive national attention to the area, generate civic pride, and offer the other immeasurable benefits that a NBA team can bring? Our public investment in a new arena is no different from prudent decisions other cities have made.

Mario L. Lindsey, Memphis

To the Editor:

The Heisley group will do the same to your city as it did to ours. Heisley accumulated his wealth by purchasing and flipping failing businesses. Do not think for one minute that if a better deal comes along in a couple of years that he will not move the team again. Here are some warning signs:


1. Hire a snake-oil-salesman GM (Dick Versace).

2. Hire a rookie head coach (instead of Lenny Wilkins, who would have loved to come to Vancouver.)

3. Hold training camp in California instead of the home city.

4. Do not attempt to contact season ticket holders in the offseason to renew seats.

5. Do not attempt to market the team to the corporate community.

6. Have owner sing national anthem at the season opener (kiss of death).

Nail this guy down, Memphis.

Ralph Lay, Vancouver, Canada

To the Editor:

As a basketball fan since the Grizzlies joined the NBA in 1995, I've been checking out both Memphis newspapers, as it appears that your fair city is going to relieve us of our franchise. When I read that a "pursuit team" is in Memphis checking this and that out, I want to scream! Not once, after Heisley purchased the team and promised to do due diligence to make the city of Vancouver proud, did team management meet with any of the businesses or fans. The original owner wasn't even contacted to buy ticket packages for the past season. Now I read of Coach Lowe throwing out the first pitch at a Redbirds game. What a joke! Heisley and his band of followers have to be scrutinized and watched. He pulled the wool over our eyes by singing "O, Canada," then 49 games into the season told us that the business community had failed him. He had no intention of trying to make the NBA work in Vancouver. I hope the media in Memphis keep this man's feet to the fire.

Brian Lind, Burnaby, B.C.

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.


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