Agreement over Tom Lee Park redesign is great news for the community, says Otis Sanford

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the agreement over Tom Lee Park’s redesign.

After months of public acrimony, it appears the two groups squabbling over the look of Tom Lee Park have reached a truce. And while both sides are applying their own PR spin by claiming victory, the real winners in all this are without a doubt the citizens of Memphis.

If you recall, the Memphis River Parks Partnership, which is responsible for overseeing all public spaces downtown, announced a bold $60-million plan months ago to overhaul the park to make it more user friendly year-round.

But the plans did not sit well with the Memphis In May International Festival, which uses almost all of the space for the Beale Street Music Festival and the championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The conflict had lots of people choosing sides and no one seemed willing to give in.

But two smart things happened. Mayor Jim Strickland intervened and settled things down a bit. And former state Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder agreed to mediate the dispute. The result was an agreement made public yesterday.

A quick glance at the details shows Memphis in May is getting the space it needs for its signature events. And the River Parks Partnership will create an atmosphere to make Tom Lee Park more welcoming. And best of all, both sides agreed in writing to stop sniping at each other.

I’d say that’s great news for the community. And that’s my point of view.

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