Council again delays Memphis 3.0 and Graceland decisions

By Updated: May 08, 2019 7:48 AM CT | Published: May 07, 2019 10:11 PM CT

<strong>The Memphis City Council Tuesday delayed for the fourth time a vote on a Graceland expansion agreement.&nbsp;</strong>(Daily Memphian file)

The Memphis City Council Tuesday delayed for the fourth time a vote on a Graceland expansion agreement. (Daily Memphian file)

Memphis City Council members again delayed votes Tuesday on an agreement for the future expansion of Graceland and the Memphis 3.0 long-range land use and development guidelines.

The council delayed for a third time a vote on the first of three readings of the Memphis 3.0 plan, citing a complaint filed Tuesday by North Memphis activist Carnita Atwater in federal court seeking an injunction to stop a council decision.

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Atwater filed the complaint – including new New Chicago Community Partnership Revitalization Community Development Corp., the New Chicago Community Development Corp. and three other community development or neighborhood groups – against the council, county commission, Mayors Jim Strickland and Lee Harris, Gov. Bill Lee and numerous local government agencies.

She seeks to stop a council decision on the plan by saying it  “intentionally disenfranchises these plaintiffs by omission, malicious neglect and unjust treatment by violating their constitutional right.”

Council member Berlin Boyd moved to delay the first reading vote for two weeks for the filing to be reviewed by council attorney Allan Wade and city chief legal officer Bruce McMullen.

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The council agreed following a half hour of comments from citizens opposed to and in support of the plan.

Atwater has been a vocal critic of the plan but leaders of other community development corporations were among the supporters who urged the council to approve the plan.

Also, the council delayed until the last council meeting in June a vote on the city’s agreement with Graceland for further expansion of the Whitehaven attraction. It is the fourth delay since the tentative agreement was announced in March.

The latest delay followed a half-hour closed attorney-client meeting council members had with Wade that appeared to be about the agreement. Through the glass windows of the committee room, council member Patrice Robinson could be seen holding up a map that appeared to be a view of the Graceland expansion plan.

The agreement covers plans for a manufacturing facility off the Graceland campus but in Whitehaven along with more sound stages for live performances, moving the Graceland RV park and adding some cabins as well as city support of incentives for all but the manufacturing plant.

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The agreement does not include the 6,200-seat arena Graceland wants to build. Whether such an arena would violate the city and county government agreement for the Memphis Grizzlies to run FedExForum for the local governments is to be decided by the Tennessee Court of Appeals in a pending case.

In other action, the council approved its part of a joint city-county resolution for the move and expansion of Hospitality Hub to the old city auto inspection station. It will serve as a shelter for homeless women as well as the new headquarters for the nonprofit.

Hospitality Hub is to raise $5 million to $8 million in private money.

The city provides an “inexpensive lease” – in the terms of the resolution – to the auto inspection station. The city also commits to put up operating funding of $275,000 in the current fiscal year and again in the fiscal year that begins July 1 and $550,000 in the following fiscal year.

Shelby County government, if approved by the county commission, puts up $275,000 in the current fiscal year, $375,000 the next fiscal year and $650,000 in the third fiscal year.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is putting in $50,000 this fiscal year and next fiscal year.

The council also delayed a vote on two alley closures that are part of a St. Jude ALSAC development of a guest home for patients and their families between Second and Third Street between Jackson and Overton Avenues.

The council approved a nine-lot residential development at 320 East Street, a car lot on 951 East Brooks Road and a convenience store with gas pumps at Old U.S. 78 at the Mississippi state line.


Memphis City Council Memphis 3.0 Graceland Hospitality Hub
Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.

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