Mayor fears AutoZone Park will become an eyesore without deal - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor fears AutoZone Park will become an eyesore without deal

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Memphis Mayor A C Wharton fears the eyesore of an empty AutoZone park if the deal does not go through. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton fears the eyesore of an empty AutoZone park if the deal does not go through.
The vote on the purchase of AutoZone park has been set for Monday at 7 p.m. The vote on the purchase of AutoZone park has been set for Monday at 7 p.m.

(WMC-TV) - City council delayed a vote for the city of Memphis to buy AutoZone Park. It was one of multiple major issues debated at Memphis City Council Tuesday.

The St. Louis Cardinals want to buy the Redbirds and make millions in improvements to the stadium. But Memphis City Council members say they have too many unanswered questions despite being told there is a real deadline in making the deal.

"I've been called a fool many times in my life, but I hate for people to stand up and treat me like one. I do not believe for one minute this is the 11th hour," said council member Janis Fullilove.

Fullilove called the man representing the bond holder for the park a liar when he talked about a deadline. In a deal the St. Louis Cardinals would buy the embattled Redbirds for $15 million, and the city would own AutoZone park. The council was told the deal needed to be approved quickly.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton fears the eyesore of an empty AutoZone park if the deal does not go through.

"It's a good deal for the city. The alternative is unthinkable. We don't know what is going to happen with the deal if approved. There is uncertainty. We know who will own the team. We know who will own the stadium," he said.

Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said a possible outcome would be a bankrupt or foreclosed stadium and a buyer for the Redbirds who would move the team somewhere else. Mozeliak says the Cardinals want to revamp the stadium and the whole experience at the ball park.

"You look at the success we've had in St. Louis and Springfield. We want to replicate the same thing and do that down here in Memphis. We want to create and environment ... A new vibe," said Mozeliak.

The council expects answers to its questions. The vote on the purchase of AutoZone park has been set for Monday at 7 p.m.

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