More changes coming to Liberty Bowl, Mid-South Fairgrounds - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

More changes coming to Liberty Bowl, Mid-South Fairgrounds

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - University of Memphis Athletic Director R.C. Johnson listened Tuesday as Memphis Mayor A C Wharton announced more changes coming to the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

"It's bigger than the university," said Johnson.  "It's for the city, and I think that's what's really amazing."

Johnson said he is excited about the changes coming to the Liberty Bowl Stadium and surrounding Mid-South Fairgrounds property.

"It's going to help us with recruiting," said Johnson, "which is, of course, going to help us win more games, which will bring more people in."

The Memphis City Council got its first virtual look at the changes.  The Liberty Bowl Stadium's seats, suites and press box will be remodeled just for starters.

"We want to get our football program where our basketball program is on a national scale," said Johnson.  "Facilities are so important.  This is a huge step."

The stadium will also receive a new jumbotron.

"If we can have a nice athletic program, particularly in football and basketball, it just permeates through our entire community and rallies everybody," Johnson said.  "We all remember we went to the Final Four.  The whole city got excited."

Outside the stadium, the city showed off the first virtual look at the Urban Village retail area.  They city said it is also considering using the new Tiger Lane for movie nights.

It was also revealed the indoor youth sports facility would hold about 5,000 seats, six basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts, up to four soccer fields, a pro shop and concessions.

"There are all sorts of things to do and everybody has 8,000 TV channels," said Johnson.  "Everybody's on the internet, there are all sorts of things.  We need to make this as fan-friendly and exciting as possible.  Tiger Lane has already started that."

Community development director Robert Lipscomb said a conversation needs to be had about the future of the Mid-South Coliseum.  The building violates American Disability Act rules, as well as code violations like asbestos.

For now, the city said it is moving ahead with the upgrades and taxpayers will not foot the bill.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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