Weekly Update: On Tom Lee Park and Memphis in May


Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share


My vision is to craft a better Riverfront for all Memphians. That includes an improved Tom Lee Park and a better-than-ever Memphis in May.

My commitment has been clear: a Tom Lee Park that will enable the Memphis in May International Festival to continue to thrive for decades to come and will better serve Memphians the other 11 months out of the year.

Misinformation abounds in the public conversation around this issue, so allow me to set a few things straight today.

  1. We’re currently mediating the future layout of Tom Lee Park — not whether Memphis in May will remain in Tom Lee Park. I’ve always been committed to Memphis in May in Tom Lee Park, and said so as recently as this space in May. The parties involved in crafting the future layout are Memphis in May, the Memphis River Parks Partnership, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and us (the City).
  2. Memphis in May will be held in Tom Lee Park in 2020. In 2021, it will be held at an alternate site to accommodate construction in the park. The festival will return to the park in 2022 and will be at home there for years to come.
  3. Riverside Drive will remain a four-lane street. We will incorporate speed-limiting designs in the final product, because we want the street to enable better access to the park.
  4. In addition to providing new amenities for citizens, the proposed renovations to Tom Lee Park will improve the infrastructure for Memphis in May.
  5. No City money from our general fund or capital improvement budget will be used — meaning that not a cent of this will impact service delivery like Police and Fire. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand or is trying to mislead you on purpose. The City is routing $10 million in sales taxes in the Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) that would otherwise have gone to the State of Tennessee. The remaining money for the park would come from Shelby County, the State of Tennessee, and private sources.

Think of the vision: When it’s done, we’ll have a world-class park that’s a front door for visitors and a back yard for Memphians.

Let’s not limit ourselves. We can have a Tom Lee Park that both enables Memphis in May to thrive and sparks more enjoyment for Memphians the other 11 months a year. It’s not an either-or.

Opportunity in Memphis: You’ve heard me talk about all the untold opportunities there are in Memphis, and an article in The Daily Memphian this week highlighted one of them: Smith & Nephew has been hiring new machinists at $19.50 per hour with benefits.

The kicker? You can get these jobs by obtaining free skills training at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology and Southwest Tennessee Community College.

Pathways to good careers exist in Memphis. Visit our Opportunity Memphis website to learn more.

In the spotlight: The best golfers in the world are in Memphis this week, and they’re raising awareness about the vital work that’s done at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I’m so glad that the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational is here, and thanks to FedEx for all that it contributes to Memphis.

Welcome aboard: A class of 57 new members of the Memphis Fire Department graduated the academy Thursday night, and I know you’ll join me in welcoming them to the service of our city. The motto of the class is so appropriate: “Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.”

Mayor's signature