Mayor Meets ‘One-On-One’ With Council Members About AutoZone Park Deal

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(Memphis) New information in the battle over AutoZone Park: Investors and the mayor are meeting with city council members one-on-one to come up with some sort of agreement over the future of the stadium.

The mayor wants the city to provide the $20 million to buy AutoZone Park, but council members say not so fast.

Council members say they could vote on buying this stadium as early as Tuesday.

Imagine a foreclosure sign in front AutoZone Park.

That’s a very real possibility if someone doesn’t buy the ball field from the struggling Redbirds Foundation.

There’s a deal in the works for the city to provide the bonds to potential investors to buy it, and taxpayers will be on the hook if investors back out.

In exchange, the St. Louis Cardinal will buy the Redbirds, keeping the team in Memphis.

“The bonds rating is going down meaning the bonds cost us more money when we go to New York City, so we’ve got to look at the whole picture,” said City Councilman Bill Boyd.

Boyd met with investors and the mayor to hash out the details of the deal, but he still isn’t sure how he’s going to vote.

“The situation is a little better than it was a couple of weeks ago, I’ll say that,” said Boyd.

Councilwoman Wanda Halbert also met with the group at city hall Friday.

She’s been one of the harshest critics of Mayor A C Wharton’s handling of the deal.

“They basically just gave a summary of what’s happening and said there was a need to make a decision, and allowed me a chance to ask question,” said Halbert.

Halbert says the one on ones in his office Wharton’s effort to try to meet council members half way in an effort to improve communication.

“I felt it was a much different situation and scenario than before,” said Halbert.

When this deal first came out, council members didn’t know anything about it, and the numbers weren’t even right.

But Halbert says the mayor now has the correct information and will present that information to the council Tuesday.


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