City says Coliseum plan not financially sensible

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's clear Memphians are not all on the same page with the new plans for the fairgrounds.

Fairgrounds advocates voiced their displeasure last week when it was revealed that improvements to the Mid-South Coliseum were off the table, meaning the historic venue would be mothballed.

"The whole picture, you want to figure out what's the highest and best use of that land, what is the vision for that neighborhood, does the Coliseum fit into that or does it financially not make sense," city council member Worth Morgan said.

Instead, the city's $160 million plan would include roughly $80 million spent on a youth sports facility, renovations on the Pipkin Building, a new parking garage, and a BMX race track.

City council would have to approve the application to the state for the fairgrounds to become a tourism development zone. The mayor's office would also take the application across the plaza to the county commission to get their support.

"I'm sure my first concert I attended was in the Mid-South Coliseum, so it has some nostalgic value," councilman Martavius Jones said.

Jones said despite the historical significance of the Coliseum, it's about the best return on investment.

"It has significant sentimental value to me, but I have to look at it from a financial standpoint," Jones said.

Other concerns linger about elimination of parking spots on the fairgrounds property for the Liberty Bowl and other sporting events with the plan.

University of Memphis President David Rudd said they will continue to argue their case.

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