New playground, pavilion coming to river front

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's a playground on the river!

Plans have been in the works for months, but now it's finally coming to fruition.

Starting at Confluence Park to the Big River Crossing and eventually MLK Park, it will be a complete revitalization of the Memphis riverfront.

This week, people started to see the first signs of the change that will come very quickly.

This is Siradjoiou Ly's first time seeing a very different Mississippi River Park

"I mean, I was shocked," Ly said.

The old Jefferson Davis Park off Riverside Drive by the river is now a construction zone.

"Every time I came, we just sat under the tree and nothing else to do you know," Ly said.

That will change by around Labor Day when the park will turn into a tree-house themed playground with open-air pavilions for family picnics and new seating areas.

The treehouse is being built off-site and will include nests. Yes, you read that right – large nests.

A previous idea of using shipping containers for the pavilions at the new park has been scrapped.

"I think that's going to be fun and the way they are positioned it becomes a bit of an adventure and experience moving through and up and into the nests," said Carol Coletta, new CEO and President of Memphis River Parks Partnership.

Colleta's job is to get people who live in and visit this so-called "river town" to actually come to the river.

"We think it's very important to do what every other city in America it seems has done and that's make the most of our riverfront, but I tell you what if we do that we're going to have one of the best riverfronts in the world," Colleta said.

By this fall you'll be able to grab your bike or take a stroll along the "River Line," a six-mile stretch between Wolf River and MLK Park.

Cobblestone Landing will also be getting an upgrade to make way for a new boathouse just north of the new park.

"Look at this harbor," Colleta said. "This is a still water harbor. You can have kayakers and boaters all in here."

Organizers said they want to make Memphis' riverfront a destination, not an afterthought.

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