City details $160M Mid-South fairgrounds renovation plan

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Emotions ran high Monday night as neighbors heard about the city's plan to revitalize the fairgrounds area.

The City of Memphis is getting closer to transforming the 178 acres of the fairgrounds into a place that will not only attract tourists, but also serve Memphians.

However, the push back on its plans is getting louder.

The city has a $160 million plan to reshape the space. Half of the money would be spent on a youth sports facility to draw in tournaments and games, in turn bringing in an economic boost.

The other half would be for renovation of the Pipkin Building, a new parking garage, and a BMX track.

For now, updating and reopening the Mid-South Coliseum is not part of the plans for the city.

Martha Pipkin believes the money set aside to renovate her husband's name sake building would be better spent on reopening the venue filled with our city's rich history.

"I know that's what he would want--would be for the money to go to the Mid-South Coliseum," Pipkin said.

It's a continued source of frustration for many who see the coliseum project as a priority.

"The residents that are in Cooper-Young, that are in Edwin Circle, and Orange Mound that really, I don't know, necessarily need to see retail and youth sports in the area when there could be a revitalization of the Coliseum," Cooper-Young resident Patrick Durkin said.

The city's mothballing plans were met with disdain from the audience.

"I am very much a fan of the Coliseum. If it makes financial sense, we need to get that thing open," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

The city says if everything goes according to plan, we could see construction begin in early 2019.

In the next few months, we'll learn what projects we'll see at the fairgrounds.

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