Redbirds ask Memphis to Buy AutoZone Park
- The Redbirds Foundation presented a plan to the Mayor Thursday asking the city to buy the park
- The city is looking at an over 40 million dollar shortfall next year
- The city is even considering selling off the liberty bowl because of the cost of need improvements.
“I thought it was a joke when I read it. So I’m pretty surprised and shocked,” said City Councilman Lee Harris.
Harris says he loves AutoZone Park, but he is shocked by the consideration of the city to buy the stadium.
“We’re not in the stadium business. I don’t know if we have the capacity budget wise or resource wise to take on another stadium,” said Harris.
The Redbirds Foundation is asking the city to buy the stadium which they owe $60 Million on. The foundation built it privately through tax free bonds, but now that operating losses are mounting up they can’t pay back the bonds. They city says they are considering that plan.
“When it comes to our downtown I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest for something to happen to AutoZone Park. I mean it’s beautiful. It’s a gem in our downtown,” said city spokesperson Mary Cashiola.
Councilman Harris says the city is already over extended.
“That’s ridiculous. The Liberty Bowl is a headache, the Pyramid was a headache, and the FedEx has proven to be problematic because we just had a basketball strike,” said Harris.
Floyd Scarberry is afraid his taxes will go up even more if the city buys the park.
“We don’t have the money to pay our bill now and they want to buy another one? I don’t understand it,” said Scarberry.
Michael Gusmus loves going to Redbird games and hopes the city buys the park.
“It could be a revenue generator for the city and hopefully bring an MLB team here at some point,” said Gusmus.
The Redbirds Foundation says they are moving forward with the 2012 season and the ball is now in the city’s court.