Update on the Fairgrounds…
The purpose of this post is to update all interested parties on progress and developments concerning the City of Memphis’ plans for the former Mid-South Fairgrounds.
As you no doubt have seen by now, the structures from the Libertyland Amusement Park have been removed from the property. Two additional packages of demolition are scheduled to take place over the course of this spring and summer. This demolition will include barns and other structures which were once used by the Mid-South Fair. We are finalizing the timeline of these two demolition packages right now, and will announce the schedule for all of the remaining demolition – including the date by which it should all be finished- no later than March 1, 2010.
The city is making special accommodations to help relocate and assist tenants of these facilities, including the flea market, Roller Derby, and Autozone Liberty Bowl luncheon.
Once we are finished with these demolition packages, our intent is to install several public green features in their place. The most significant of these will be a “great lawn” that will extend from North Parkway to the entrance of the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Zippin Pippin Roller Coaster
I was visited by the Honorable Jim Schmitt, Mayor of Green Bay, Wisconsin, a few weeks ago to discuss a possible sale and relocation of the Zippin Pippin. Mayor Schmitt has indicated that he will make a recommendation to his City Council to move forward with the purchase, which would result in some of the roller coaster’s wood and some other decorative elements being resurrected at the Beach Bay Amusement Park in Green Bay.
At the moment, we are waiting to see if Green Bay moves forward with these plans. Meanwhile, the Zippin Pippin’s wood will be cut, stacked, and safely stored in a weather-proof environment off-site.
During the first round of demolition, which included Libertyland, asphalt which had been used for event parking was removed. This area will be seeded and sodded this spring and summer so that it can be used as parking for all Liberty Bowl events this year, including Tigers football games and the Southern Heritage Classic. As a result, this football season, there will be more parking on the Fairgrounds site than there was previously.
The Mid-South Coliseum was closed by the city in 2006 because of the prohibitive cost of bringing the venue into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although this is clearly a facility that holds a special place in the hearts of many Memphians, we do not believe that we have the financial wherewithal to make the necessary upgrades to re-open the Coliseum, nor is it apparent that sufficient market demand exists in Memphis for a venue of its size to be open year-round.
Our intention now is to convene a public hearing to determine the best options for its future, which may include its eventual demolition.
Over the past year, we have conducted dozens of meetings with hundreds of community members and stakeholders to determine a new vision and forward course for the Fairgrounds. These community-input sessions will result in a comprehensive new development plan, which we believe will include a healthy mix of appropriate retail, green space, and family-friendly sports amenities. As soon as details of this plan are made public this spring, we will select a project manager to bring this vision to life.
If you have any further questions, concerns, or comments regarding the Fairgrounds, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Fairgrounds” in the subject line. Thank you!