The CA is reporting today that three city directors, including parks director Cindy Buchanan, have not been reappointed yet. Most other directors are being submitted for the council's consideration. There seems to be some doubt if a parks department will even exist as a separate entity. Having lost the independent Park Commission somewhat earlier, thanks to previous council members and mayor not wishing to have any check on use of the parks for their purposes, we cannot afford to lose a director who focuses exclusively on the well being of our city parks. Memphis is already near the bottom nationally of spending on its parks, and we need someone to be looking out for their welfare.
I'm especially disappointed because Director Buchanan has been very responsive to park users' concerns and requests. Maintenance requests have been handled quickly under her watch, and when General Services planned to bulldoze a sewer line directly through the Old Forest a few months ago, she went to bat for the park and got that stopped in a day, even though she was out of town on vacation at the time. According to people who have been on the Park Friends board longer than I have, we have not always had such a responsive parks director.
Mayor Wharton's emphasis on Greening Greater Memphis made me hope that he would honor and preserve our parks better than the previous administration. I hope he will make the parks' welfare a major priority for his administration. The public parks are Memphis' welcome mat that greet guests to our city. If we do not maintain them, it sends a city to anyone looking to move or relocate a business here that Memphis does not take care of itself and is not worthy of investment by others.
If you would like to make your opinion known, you can email Mayor Wharton at Mayor@memphistn.gov