Council delays vote on purchase of AutoZone Park - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council delays vote again on purchase of AutoZone Park

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If the agreement goes through, the St. Louis Cardinals plan buy the Memphis Redbirds for $15 million and the city would own the park. If the agreement goes through, the St. Louis Cardinals plan buy the Memphis Redbirds for $15 million and the city would own the park.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton worries the park will become an eyesore if a deal is not reached. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton worries the park will become an eyesore if a deal is not reached.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council delayed a vote by another week on whether to buy AutoZone Park.

Last week's meeting had some council members upset because the council said the city administration did not provide enough information on the deal. Tuesday's meeting was not too different.

The council's main concern is whether the deal will pay for itself. Under the deal the Cardinals will lease the stadium and the sales tax rebate is supposed to keep taxpayers off the hook.

"This deal is risky for taxpayers. The substance, the timing, and the inconsistency of the financial information that we have been given does not come close to proving Memphis taxpayers are protected," said councilman Jim Strickland.

The bonds need to be sold by the end of the year. Council members said they want to make sure the purchase will not land in the taxpayers' hands.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton worries the park will become an eyesore if a deal is not reached. Click here to see a slideshow on Memphis eyesores.

"It's a good deal for the city," he said. "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."

Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said a possible outcome, if the deal does not go through, would be a bankrupt or foreclosed stadium and a Redbirds buyer who could move the team somewhere else.

Mozeliak says the Cardinals want to revamp the stadium and make the ballpark experience better for Redbirds fans.

The council did approve an amendment Monday saying the city will pay $15 million rather than $20 million for the park. It is unclear if anyone will accept that deal. The council is scheduled to take another vote Tuesday, December 17.

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