The Silliest Idea - And Response (2)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium is a dedicated memorial to the veterans of past wars. To raise money by selling the name is the silliest idea I have heard in a long time.

The city should be proud to have both facilities and what they provide to the community. People come from Atlanta, Nashville, Huntsville, Knoxville and many other cities and townships to see the events there. I know, because I worked there for 29 years. The Tivoli has been a trademark of the city as much as the Aquarium or Rock City.

Would we put the name “Chattanooga” up for sale just to raise money? I think not. Drop this idea now.

Mickey Hipp

Retired Technical Director, Memorial Auditorium

* * *

If Soldiers and Sailors Auditorium re-naming and venue rights are sold, it will not be the first time. BellSouth pays significant financial concessions to obtain naming rights for the Lookouts stadium (but I don't think BellSouth ever told the Lookouts who they were allowed to play). If the Chattanooga City Council and Mayor's Office believe that they will not cheapen the efforts of "The Greatest Generation" then they should go ahead and sell out. If the Chattanooga City Council and Mayor's Office believe raising this paltry sum is worth negating this memorial (hey, that is the name isn't it?) is harmless in the way it undercuts the sacrifices millions of military men and women provided this country, then they should sell out.

I can't wait for these dominoes to start falling: The Unum Miller Park; The Little Debbie Memorial Cemetery; The Chattam Drugs Walnut Street Bridge; The Moonpie Greenway. If the city fathers can allow a place of history to be flattened to make room for one of Chattanooga's biggest employers, just call it Cross & Shield Hill instead of Cameron Hill. Would Littlefield Dam be politically correct? Scratch that. The name might catch in people's throats more than the word Chickamauga. But there's always the Ronnie Landing, and further downstream, Ladd Suck, Benson Skillet and Manny Pan.

Ron Littlefield and his pocketed City Council: you annex land with no intention of servicing it with city services adequately. You attempt to house homeless people on EPA condemned property. You pave roads with gravel instead of asphalt. There may be no limit to the size these OpEds can get, but the more I think about how you keep shooting Chattanooga in the foot the more ill I become.

Take a moment and think about the military men this country fed into the grist mill in order to preserve your way of life, and you are selling it for peanut shells. Your actions not only vilify yourselves, you welch on the name of the memorial to members of our society that allowed you to be where you are today. None of you are worthy of any of those soldiers' sacrifice, and you take away their only downtown memorial.

Why stop there.? Let's have national holidays sold to the highest bidder. City thoroughfares could use a little more pizzazz. I wonder how the many in this city will react when you change the name of MLK to BMW Boulevard.

The sad part about all of this is that you council members aren't even cognizant of the slippery slope you are treading. Most of you have (very) little time left. You know that, we know that, your families know that. Is this going to be your final legacy? I would posit that the majority of citizens who really think about this, the more they believe that this is a short-cut to balancing your budget or making up for a Blue Rhino shortfall.

Shameful behavior for supposedly mature and far-thinking adults. Are you scared to put it to a vote by the citizenry? Or are you demi-gods immune to such scrutiny?

David Fihn, Sr. 

* * * 

I agree with the posters above, do not cheapen Memorial Auditorium by selling the name change to the highest bidder just to bring in a few bucks to Chattanooga's coffers. I have a better idea for the mayor to bring in big bucks. 

There is a small pull off or rest area with picnic tables as you go around Lookout Mountain on the Scenic Highway high above Moccasin Bend, I think this is the old Hwy 41 or Will Cummings Highway. And a lot of out of town tourists like to go this way to visit Lookout Mountain, Rock City, Ruby Falls because this highway is off the beaten path to the Scenic City. The mayor could post a sign at this small rest area and tell people that they can have a piece of Chattanooga by cutting some kudzu, charge a nominal fee, say $5 for no more than 10 feet of kudzu vine, do this on the honor system and let the visitors drop the money in a drop box or  install one of the unused traffic cameras to watch over Chattanooga's visitors just to keep them honest.  If no cameras are available, buy one cheap from the city of Red Bank, they are taking theirs out to bring in more money for their city.  

The visitors could take their own pictures while holding up their prized kudzu which they can take back home up north and plant in their yards or gardens. The sign could also have planting instructions so that they could have a piece of Chattanooga growing forever at their home or farm. 

This money making idea is two fold, it brings in tons of needy money to Chattanooga and it cuts down on all the property maintenance that the city of Chattanooga spends every year to beautify the city.  The mayor would have to go out there every day and retrieve the money from the drop box because it would fill up fast. 

Gary Dixon


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