promoters want help
and Joyce Fournier are huddled under an umbrella within yards
of the shotgun shack where Gladys Presley gave birth to the
King. Reading about Elvis on a brick wall, they moved from
one printed recollection to another, ignoring the rain and
enjoying the lawn and flower gardens.
live in Michigan, but this is a part of my life and Paul's
life," said Joyce Fournier. "When I was in eighth and ninth
grade, Elvis blossomed even in small towns of central Indiana.
So, here we are." An estimated 75,000 visitors a year flock
to the Elvis Presley birthplace. For the Elvis Presley Memorial
Foundation, which oversees the site, the part-time upkeep
by the city isn't enough. Members have proposed that the grounds
have full-time attention to complement the recent improvements.
Dodge, the foundation chairman, recently pointed out those
improvements to the Tupelo City Council. Among them, the life-size
sculpture by Michiel Van der Sommen of Elvis at 13, which
stands on the grounds adjacent to the house, and a $75,000
renovation of the house and revamping of the gift shop, funded
by the Tupelo Convention and Visitors' Bureau, fans, corporate
entities and other sources.
Dodge and the foundation want to turn the birthplace site
into a world-class attraction, and that means a full-time
maintenance man. The proposal to the city asks for a $10,000
supplement to maintain the grounds, but for the foundation
to have its own maintenance employee. The city will consider
the request in December.
idea of a full-time person suits parks director Don Lewis
just fine. The proposal will save the city $7,000 per year
of the $17,000 it already invests in the site, including the
maintenance worker, who usually spends 30-plus hours a week
at the birthplace. Sometimes, having two masters causes confusion.
For the foundation to take over maintenance, Lewis said, "would
be kind of a win-win situation." Museum director Dick Guyton
site requires a lot of grooming. It needs new plantings twice
a year, Guyton said, and it's mowed twice a week in the summer
and once a week in the winter. The foundation doesn't want
a full-time person to replace its current maintenance man,
Guyton said. It just wants someone it doesn't have to share
with the city. Send this link to a friend. (News,
Source: The Clarion-Ledger)