Mediation Over Park Dispute on Hold for Now
The mediation regarding the Tom Lee Park is currently on hold until the US Army Corps of Engineers reviews the partnership plans of those involved. Both the Memphis River Parks Partnership and the Memphis in May International Festival are awaiting the results to move forward with the mediation. The postponement was announced by Memphis Mayor Jim Stickland in the email he sends out weekly to media and his constituents.
According to Strickland,We have made progress in mediation in recent weeks, but the proposed park changes are now on hold so our partners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers … can review MRPP’s proposed design. This may take a while, of course. But it is vitally important that any improvements continue to provide for the safe use of the park, and that they do not affect flood control, the stabilization of the bluff, or the river navigation channel. ”
Strickland announced the mediation would be placed on hold the same week critics of the partnership plans began circulating a letter on social media that came from an unidentified “retired rep” of the Army Corps of Engineers that questioned plans for more hills in a park that rises on its northern and southern ends – Beale Street Landing on the north and Ashburn-Coppock Park on the south.
The original intention of the partnership had intended to begin renovations of the park at the end of 2019’s Memphis in May festival. The 2020 festival would be hosted at a different location. However, the dispute over adding trees and contours to the flat treeless park was called into question because it would mean reduced space for other events, including Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Those two events are the largest Memphis hosts.