Brooks Museum hopes for move to downtown riverfront, eyes MFD HQ

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Brooks Museum of Art hopes to move to a location along the riverfront in Downtown Memphis, and they know just the place.

The museum's board of directors said parts of their current building are inadequate and need renovations. However, they said upgrading the Overton Park facility would be expensive and disruptive to park activities.

The museum wants to expand, and doing so in its current location could encroach on Overton Park Golf Course or other public spaces.

Brooks officials think a better option would be to join in on the Memphis Riverfront Concept, a plan that looks to revitalize the riverfront and make it a key piece of tourism.

A spot may open up, as Memphis Fire Department may be moving its downtown headquarters at Front Street and Union Avenue.

Memphis fire director Gina Sweat told a committee of city council members that the department wants to relocate to a maintenance garage at Adams Avenue and Thomas Boulevard, located between downtown and the growing Medical District.

Sweat said a move of some type has been discussed for a long time because of the value of the downtown location.

"The headquarters' location has been talked about for years and years and years," Sweat said.

Sweat also wants to combine fire station 1 at 211 Jackson Avenue with fire station 6 at 924 Thomas Boulevard into a new facility in the area of Chelsea Avenue and Third Street.

She anticipates both projects would cost ab out $16 million, needing council and the mayor's approval, and taking at least a couple years to complete.

"We have a lot of construction, a lot of proposals on the table," Sweat said. "It's the fire department's responsibility to make sure people are safe when they come to Downtown and Midtown."

The Brooks' board of directors passed a resolution seeking Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and his administration's consideration to join the riverfront. Now, both sides must wait and see.

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