The City of Memphis Fairgrounds Question

READ THE RESPONSES TO THIS QUESTION HERE

Dear Candidate:

Memphis Heritage has been asked to help coordinate the dissemination of the poll results and to get responses from all candidates running for Mayor and City Council. This page will be active until midnight, Wednesday, August 5th.

The City of Memphis plan for a Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone includes the demolition of the Mid-South Coliseum. However, a demand by the public for increased community involvement in this planning process has resulted in a temporary suspension of the plan. Interested parties recently financed an independent poll to determine the level of support for this plan, and for the idea of renovating the Coliseum instead of demolishing it. Several weeks ago on July 9, MSL Market Research (a public opinion research firm based in Stamford, CT) conducted a telephone survey of Memphians who voted in the 2011 or previous Mayoral elections.

Of those called, 665 said they intended to vote in the October 2015 Memphis mayoral and city council election. These respondents answered two further questions as follows.

The pollster asked this question about the TDZ plan:

As you may know, the City of Memphis wants to redevelop the Fairgrounds into a Tourism Development Zone that will cost around 165 million dollars. A firm that the City asked for advice believes some parts of the City’s plans are out of date or based on untested assumptions. Other critics say City officials have misled the public about the plan’s costs and benefits. Do you think the City should proceed with this plan?

616 intended voters responded. 48% of them disapproved of the TDZ plan, 25% approved, and 26% were undecided.

And he asked this question about the Coliseum:

The City of Memphis closed the Mid-South Coliseum on the Fairgrounds in 2007 after failing for many years to properly upgrade the building. As part of its plan to redevelop the Fairgrounds, the City now wants to demolish the Coliseum, although it remains structurally sound. Which of the following options do you prefer?

607 intended voters responded. 68% believed the City should renovate and reuse the coliseum, 11% agreed with its demolition, and 21% were undecided.

It is clear from this poll that Memphis voters overwhelmingly support the renovation and reuse of the Coliseum by a 6-fold margin, and significantly disapprove of the Fairgrounds TDZ by nearly 2 to 1.

We ask:

‘If you are elected, would you support and work to implement the renovation and reuse of the Mid-South Coliseum as a community resource, with or without the approval of a TDZ plan for the redevelopment of the Fairgrounds?’

READ THE RESPONSES TO THIS QUESTION HERE

DON NEWMAN