Liberty Lives On



Well it seems the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium may be given a pardon. The word is Mayor Herenton is reconsidering his 2007 New Year’s announcement to tear down the stadium and build a new one. From the beginning I argued that in a city that is as financially strapped as Memphis in no way could we afford such an expense. Now I don’t begrudge the Mayor for being a visionary leader, in part that’s his job, but the numbers nor support never really seem to be there. This was all set in motion because of the need to meet the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) which requires such facilities to meet accessibility standards, for those who are physically challenged, as published in the Title III regulations.

There were three options being tossed around (pun intended):

First choice, we retrofit the Liberty Bowl to meet ADA. The price tag for this could be between 10 and 30 million. The argument against this is that the Liberty Bowl is over 40 years old and the modification will cost the loss of some seats, but how often is this stadium sold out and there are many building far older and still functioning very well.

Second choice, we build a new stadium. The Mayor gave a conservative price around $100 million. Here’s a sure-fast rule to city projects – whatever the cost double it. The City’s own consultants prove that to be true when they returned with an unwelcome assessment that building a new stadium would cost $200 million. Again I would have no problem with a new stadium if… One, this City was a bigger supporter of sports. Remember when the Oilers were here and decided to pull out a year early because of poor attendance? Two, this City was not facing so many critical financial issues. I know the Mayor said these funds would come from private donor, and if he can pull that off, more power to him. I for one would like to hear some type of commitment from these donors before the bulldozers start rolling. Also when the Memphis Rebounders’ President Harold Byrd, a powerful and justly respected voice stated a need to look into the University of Memphis building its own stadium you have to take that seriously.

Third choice, and way out of left field was the suggestion that Memphis go all the way and build a state-of-the-art mega stadium to attract a NFL team. The price tag would be around $300 to $500 million. I kid you not. There were several prominent people floating this idea.

Clearly the only realistic option is for Memphis to bring the Liberty Bowl up to ADA specifications. It may not be glamorous, and it may not be innovative, but it is what we need to do.


10 comments:

Blood Pressure said...

This was a bad ideal from the start! Our neighborhoods are falling apart and they want a stadium! Fix my streets, clean up my parks, tear down these rundown houses, put these thugs in jail! Now that would be a touch down!

Anonymous said...

We should change Memphis motto from "Home of the Blues" to "Home of the Developers". This mayor believes everything for his developer friends and the heck with the average citizen.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Milton you may be wrong about this one. Memphis is a sport town. The thing is that many of the people here can't afford to go to these games. You talking about getting Downtown, paying for parking that is way over priced, buying tickets, and buying food. If that was a family of four you just paid well over a hundred dollars.
What should be done is fine ways to make going to a game more reasonable. Like have a sport bus come and pick you up and take you to the game then when its over take you home. Discount the snacks or at least add some items that are cheap. Try to push for more companies to buy tickets for their employees. Like have a company day or something like that. Crack down on scalpers they are driving the ticket prices way up.

I love the Red Bird Stadium and the Fedex Form. Lets get with all the rich people and also sell $100 bonds to the rest of us and lets raise the money to build a mega stadium to attract the NFL here.

By the way there's something wrong with your site. I was trying to make a comment on you reading to the children but couldn't. That was really nice of you to do that. Its clear you really care. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Please don't delete this post!!!

You deleted my earlier post. I'm promise to control myself. My other post talked about putting the whole city council in a burlap sack and throwing them in the Mississippi. That may have been a bit strong but look what they are doing to our city. The people that voted for them you can bet were the poorest and mostly uneducated. These people don't understand that the middle and upper income people (black and white) are leaving Memphis. We had a chance to stop the bleeding by voting in new people with new vision. You wouldn't know me Mr. Milton but I heard you speak at the NAACP meeting. You were by far the best candidate. You knew the issues, you had the experience and you understood the problems. It was clear to me right there that there was no way you were going to win, not in Memphis. These Memphis people don't vote for people like you. It's like they want the city to go down. This city is self destructive. When somebody with your experience can't get elected we deserve what we get. Ok let me make some positive suggestion or you won't post me. We need to get control of the bums that are all over Downtown. We don't have the money to build a new stadium. We need to get rid of city council at large positions and start term limits. I apologies for the first post I was pissed and had to vent. Don't give up on Memphis and move out like everybody else.

Reginald Milton said...

To: 11:15 AM

Thank you for your post. It was well thought out and you made several very interesting suggestions.

Lack of interest or lack of money in the end it does not matter. The owners of these sport teams count the number of seats with people in them and if the numbers are not good they are gone.

At the present time I don't think Memphis has the capacity to woo and maintain a NFL Team, at least not yet.

As far as not being able to add opinions on some of my posts that was not an accident. I had become somewhat frustrated with having to delete so many unacceptable opinions that I had decided that I would no longer accept comments from the public. I would post my views and the public, if they wished, could come and read them.

It seems when given the opportunity to comment in anonymity some people loose all sense of respect. If I didn't delete so many comments the number of post here at this site would triple. But regrettably I am forced to do so. As I stated at the start of this blog, this is a place for enlightenment. It is not a place to spew hate, spread rumors, or go off on a tangent.

After I shared my decision with some of my friends, who have been regular visitors to my site as well as often posting comments, they disagreed with my decision and I decided to reconsider. What I will do now is on some of my posts like SMILE!, and announcements there will not be a posting site.

To: 2:00 PM

Let me take a deep breath. Your earlier opinion, which I did decide to not post, was an example of the type of comments I find not appropriate for my site. Some of the things you said were pretty graphic. In your second opinion you had calmed down and was more coherent. Let me state to my viewers I did not post 2:00 PM's comment because of the nice things said about me, but because he/she had tone down the rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

If we don't support the middle class and they are the ones that go to these sporting events then we will keep loosing them to other cities.

My friends often say there is not enough things to do in Memphis. The middle class is the heart and soul of this city, especially the young middle class. If the Mayor wants to build more attractions, then more power to him.

Anonymous said...

let me get this stright 10:12...support the guy who said he can't do nothing about crime. if the mayor can't solve the crime how the heck he going to solve anything else.

Anonymous said...

New York Giants baaaaaaaaaaby!!!

We should turn the whole town into a huge sports area. Build a domed football stadium bigger than the Georgia Dome. That would get us a NFL Team. Construction of the Georgia Dome was financed through tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds. It was also subsidized by the sale of luxury boxes, which ranged from $20,000 to $120,000. We can build the stadium to the South of Downtown and then build a really nice stadium for UofM. I know this would kick butt. We are centrally located with a large population. I know this would work.

Hunter said...

In the end the city officials are going to do what they want to do. It doesn't matter what we have to say about it. I am so fed up with this holier than god people that keep getting elected.

Anonymous said...

We should have fought all out for an NFL team before letting Nashville get one, now it would be impossible to get a team here in Memphis.