Beale Street has been a complicated mess for Memphis for years. Not what happens on the street, but who runs the street. And as Local 24’s Mike Matthews tells us, it’s about to get even more complicated.
Beale Street pumps a lot of greenbacks into this city’s coffers.
After all nobody comes to Memphis to visit Poplar, or Madison.
There are no postcards that say, “I saw the south loop in Memphis.”
Two years ago, city council members decided to form the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority, to run Beale Street temporarily, until the commission could find a management group.
Councilman Martavius Jones says that might have been a big mistake. “I still feel,” Jones says, “… that the Memphis City Council has ceded a lot of its authority to individuals not accountable to the taxpayers of Memphis.”
The Beale Street group had votes this year for somebody to manage the street.
The last company standing was called 21 Beale Street, and Dwain Kyles of 21 Beale says, “It has been a labor of love on some levels for us to try and have this opportunity to manage Beale Street.”
Recognize the name?
Dwain Kyles is the son of the late Reverend Samuel Billy Kyles.
The Kyles name still has clout in Memphis.
Kyles has been angry about a decision not to award his company managing powers over Beale Street..
A lawyer for the Downtown Memphis Commission said the group thought managing Beale would be too much for Kyles’ company.
Some city council members had their own ideas. Council Vice Chairman Janis Fullilove says, “There’s some kind of hidden agenda with you guys. There’s something sinister, underlying why you all have done what you’ve done.”
Not true says Casey Shannon, a lawyer representing the Downtown Memphis Commission. “I can assure you,” he says, “… there was not one iota of racism, or prejudice, or discrimination involved in the elimination of 21 Beale or any other group.”
Council members will continue their discussions. Kyles says his next step might be to file a lawsuit.