Last Sunday's Commercial Appeal carried a story about Memphis Roller Derby's business struggles at the Memphis Fairgrounds.
First, the Fairground's new facilities management group is giving MRD the business about their insurance, even though it's the same policy used by roller derby leagues around the country, and hiking their rent at the nearly abandoned Fairgrounds.
Second, Henry Turley, the new Fairgrounds master developer, while lauding the Derby's passion, posits a preemptive NIMBY reaction because of their tattoos and saucy clothing.
"I wouldn't be the one to say no," Turley said. "It would have to be the community stepping in and saying, 'Hey, everything you said you wanted to do with the fairgrounds, that doesn't fit.'"What community would it be? The present community has embraced them. Perhaps the unbuilt Fairgrounds residential community, or the "the national youth sports events developers hope to attract to a planned indoor athletic facility". A repressive anti-tattoo community from the future vs the real, dynamic and open community that supports Memphis Roller Derby now.
The value added by Roller Derby's energy and creativity is far greater than anything a speculative and prudish tenant could bring. Memphis Roller Derby is the kind of vital, home grown enterprise that a new Memphis and a new Fairgrounds should embrace and build around.