Memphis Greenspace reveals plans for parks that housed Confederate statues

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's been more than a month since the City of Memphis quietly sold two of its parks in a workaround deal to legally remove the two Confederate statues.

On Thursday, the parks' new owner Memphis Greenspace revealed the future plan to transform the area.

Memphis Greenspace wants to breathe new life into Health Science Park and Memphis Park by transforming the space, a site of controversy, into a place where the city can gather.

The sale of Health Science Park and Memphis Park was quiet and swift, barriers and lights appeared seemingly overnight in December.

Memphis Greenspace wants the transformation of the space to be anything but secretive.

"The parks are well-positioned," said Van Turner with Memphis Greenspace. "As they say in real estate, location, location, location. What better location than here in the heart of the city?"

Little things like more park benches, cleaning up walkways, and improving the landscape are just a few items on the to-do list. The nonprofit also wants to bring festivals and even yoga to the parks.

But there is still one very large obstacle in Health Science Park that will remain until a Davidson County Chancery Court judge makes a ruling. Below the Nathan Bedford Forrest pedestal are the remains of he and his wife.

"We are committed to making sure we open these parks up for all Memphians and we honor and appreciate the history," Turner said.

On Thursday, a judge heard arguments on whether the city legally removed the Forrest and Jefferson Davis statues.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans want a restraining order, prohibiting statues to be sold for now.

Despite the legal hang-up, Memphis Greenspace is moving forward with the changes.

"We want to bring this park to life," Turner said.

Donations are funding the nonprofit's plans to transform this park.

Memphis Greenspace may also purchase more Memphis parks in the future, but were unable to say which ones just yet.

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