School funding caught in middle of squabble over tourism dollars - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

School funding caught in middle of squabble over tourism dollars

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Basar says the development would not help tourism, specifically in the nearby Cooper-Young and Overton Square entertainment districts. Basar says the development would not help tourism, specifically in the nearby Cooper-Young and Overton Square entertainment districts.
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(WMC-TV) - Shelby County leaders are in a squabble with the City of Memphis over millions of tourism dollars. School funding is caught right in the middle of the tug-of-war.

Commissioners say the city applied for a state funding that will divert money away from schools. The city says that is just not true.

"Perhaps $2 million a year for 30 years taken away from education and putting it into this project," said Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar.

County commissioners and the City of Memphis are at odds over the Mid-South Fairground's proposed Tourist Development Zone designation by the state.

"All of the money that they are getting right now, they still get," said City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development Debbie Singleton.

TDZs get state funding to promote tourism.

Basar says the development would not help tourism, specifically in the nearby Cooper-Young and Overton Square entertainment districts.

"You're grabbing sales tax revenue from these other areas to pay for a city-sponsored development, which could actually hurt those other areas from tourism and economic development perspectives," said Basar.

Singleton says she has met with Cooper-Young and Overton Square.

"We've met with everybody that's commercial and neighbors around the fairgrounds. and the business will increase," she said.

A committee passed Basar's proposal asking the state to reject the city's application for funds. It goes to the full commission Monday. Meanwhile, the State Building Commission has a meeting in Nashville next month to vote if Memphis gets the funding.

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