Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

For the past month and a half I have been working on an assignment. Scott McCormick, who chairs the Parks Committee of the City Council, said that he would bring a resolution to a vote before the council, if I could produce one. This would be a resolution to save Memphis's historic park, closed for two years now during the Fairgrounds redevelopment study. Our park has been the only thing to remain off-limits for this two-year period. Flea markets, gun shows, and even the MidSouth Fair are still ongoing through 2008.

So I got to work on a resolution. The document has been signed by a diverse mix of local non-profit directors, youth camp organizers, ministers, and community garden experts. However, it has been bumped from the agenda twice now down at City Hall.

Here is the resolution, for perusal and comment. Just to show that when I am charged with a task, I complete it. It's a tad long-winded, but I have never done this before, so apologies to all.


WHEREAS, the historic park located at the site of the former Libertyland has been closed, resulting in the loss of 500 summer jobs for youth; and

WHEREAS, the sudden closure has not been offset by any indoor/outdoor,
history/art/culture/theatre/music-oriented comparable program for youth; and

WHEREAS, the local effort to preserve this historic site has resulted in the preservation of Memphis's Grand Carousel and Zippin Pippin
rollercoaster; and

WHEREAS, the assessed value of these twin historic landmarks is $6
Million; and

WHEREAS, a well-documented "public process" has for two years sought
"public input" on the outcome of an ongoing re-use process for this area and surrounding acreage; and

WHEREAS, a well-documented rise in violent crime threatens local
families due to loss of secure areas within Midtown and surrounding
neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, the existing site described herein is ideally located as an enclosed, centralized gathering-place for surrounding residential neighborhoods, including but not limited to: Beltline, Orange Mound, Cooper-Young, Idlewild, and others; and

WHEREAS, restoring this existing park to the public for purposes of
year-round recreation and summer programs for youth, built around the
Creative Arts Building, Grand Carousel, Zippin Pippin, and existing
pavilions, outbuildings, walking trails, and parkways, would thus fill
the vacuum in youth and family services created by the sudden closure of this venue; and

WHEREAS, the re-branding of this park as a memorial to Mike Crockett,
the young African-American employee of Libertyland who died in a tragic
accident aboard the aforementioned Carousel, is a crucial step in honoring African-American contributions and sacrifices at this historic site; and

WHEREAS, no stated plan exists for this historic site beyond demolition
Of the site by the City of Memphis; and

WHEREAS, the City Council has appropriated $137,000 to keep the aforementioned site closed, a figure that is not subject to oversight;

WHEREAS, repeated visits to the site by local elected officials have found no sign of a paid, professional guard;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the area described, comprising the former
Libertyland acreage on the Southwest corner of the Fairgrounds, be
re-named the MIKE CROCKETT MEMORIAL PARK; be re-opened and returned to its historic use as a centrally located park for families and children; and be utilized for future Summer Programs for Youth as a venue available to local non-profit groups and citizen's networks operating as supporters of youth, family, culture, history, the arts, and recreation; and that the aforementioned $137,000 be directed toward re-opening and securing the site, with additional monies for the site and future Summer Youth Programs to be raised on-site through existing venues (Creative Arts Building, stages, outbuildings, pavilions, the Carousel, etc.) by affiliated non-profits discussed herein, including volunteer efforts and associated outreach.

** These figures based on National Carousel Association information and
information provided from on-site inspection by George Laibe of
International Amusement Alliance, LLC.


Denise Parkinson
founder, Save Libertyland!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Christian, iwspo.net