Joe Cooper's Coliseum Plan

Yes, folks, there is such a thing; it involves wrestling (though not the live kind) and beer, and the irrepressible Cooper, a candidate again this year, has urged it on Mayor Wharton.

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Although the professional role of journalists as transmitters of news and information to the public inevitably involves a certain measure of interpretation, there come times when the C-SPAN approach of presenting things raw and as-is seems more appropriate.

Such is the case with the latest piece of would-be news-making offered by the hardiest of perennial candidates, Joe Cooper, who this year is seeking the Position 2 City Council seat in Super District 9.

Cooper, a onetime member of the old Shelby County Court and a longtime habitué of the political sphere, had originally declared for the District 5 seat being vacated by mayor candidate Jim Strickland but shifted his ambitions to the District 9 position when the seat-holder, Shea Flinn, also announced his non-candidacy.

Candidate Cooper’s latest governmental proposal involves the question of what to do with the Mid-South Coliseum structure, targeted for demolition by some (including mayoral idea-man Robert Lipscomb, whose proposal for a Fairgrounds TDZ is hanging fire with the state Building Commission in Nashville) and for rescue by others, who see the vintage performance structure as eminently salvageable.

Cooper sides with the latter group, although his own proposal, forwarded to Mayor A C Wharton for consideration over the weekend, is — well, somewhat off the beaten path.
Here it is, C-SPAN style, speaking for itself:

Good Morning, Mayor:

Contrary to perceived writings in the local media, I was very happy to learn that you are open to a highest and best use for Coliseum.

Here is my game plan:

Please consider selling the facility and its parking lot to WiseAcre Brewery, which is currently located at 2743 Broad. The financial weight behind the Brewery is Mr. Frank Smith.

The price would be $1.

Due Diligence period of 120 days. This would give Frank's Engineers ample time to make sure the building when modified will work.

He would employ about 100 people initially if he opened his enlarged Wiseacre Mfg. Facility and grow to double that number in about 3 to 5 years. The capitol [sic] investment would be in the millions and create construction jobs as well.

Secondary use would be to create a Tourist attraction. High glass walls and observation decks to overlook the manufacturing would be a great draw. a mini museum of Memphis Wrestling and a separate one featuring all the artists that performed at the Coliseum.

In addition, an effort should be made to assist the owners of the Lisa Marie and its Sister plane. In moving the two aircraft to be placed on either side of the main entrance to the Coliseum. Graceland has given the ownership group that owns the two planes...til April 27 to move them off their grounds.

As you are aware I love our City and really would be sad along with thousands of others who attended musical concerts and Monday Nite Wrassling and Jerry the King....Bill Dundee...Lance Russell...Elvis in Concert...Danny Thomas and St. Jude Telethons; the list goes on and on!..to see it torn down!

Frank is willing to put his money where his mouth is and I hope you will allow this idea and proposal to move forward immediately.

Let me know how we can move forward .

Joe Cooper


Mayoral aide Bobby White confirmed that Cooper’s letter has been received and is in channels but cannot say for sure if the Mayor has personally read it yet or has an opinion to offer.


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