Friday, April 9, 2010

"Tiger Way" . . . or whatever

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 6:44 PM

What's in a name? A lot if you're a member of the committee working on cleaning, greening, and redeveloping the old Mid-South Fairgrounds.

The committee, including representatives of the City Council, University of Memphis, AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Southern Heritage Classic, city administration, and the division of Parks and Recreation, spent 45 minutes Friday discussing what some members hoped would take only a minute or so — naming the green, grassy entranceway to the stadium from East Parkway.

Here's how "Tiger Way" turned into No Way.

First, the space consists of eight acres west of the stadium, 160 feet wide and 1300 feet long. It will be sodded and there will be premium parking and tailgating spots around it. The working name was "Tiger Drive," but there was a feeling that "drive" connoted cars, and cars will not be allowed on the grass during football games or any other time.

The first suggestion, made by Councilman Reid Hedgepeth and seconded by UM Athletic Director R. C. Johnson, was "Tiger Way." Johnson said he ran the name past Councilman Wanda Halbert, who was absent, and she was OK with it. Johnson was also OK with "Tiger Lawn" as an alternate.

Not so fast, said Councilman Bill Boyd and Parks Director Cindy Buchanan. Why not hire a marketing firm to pick a name and/or let the public have a say? Hedgepeth said that would make the process time-consuming and political.

Fred Jones, founder of the Southern Heritage Classic, was OK with Tiger Way, if only on an interim basis. The committee, he suggested, has bigger things to worry about.

"It's only a name," he said.

Steve Ehrhart, representing the Liberty Bowl, suggested "Tiger Way at Liberty Park" — which would take the archaic "fairgrounds" name out of play. While there was agreement that the word "fairgrounds" has got to go, both names were tabled for future discussion.

Whatever it is called, the committee plans to have the way/drive/lane/alley/ finished by mid-September.

The larger vision for the project is a "world class" place suitable for use 365 days a year.


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