New law designates fairgrounds as "tourism development zone"

A new law is in effect Wednesday that designates the Mid-South Fairgrounds as a "tourism development zone".

And some say the law passed by the Tennessee legislature only adds confusion to the future of the fairgrounds.

The new zoning allows the city and local developers to use sales tax money from future retail on this mile-and-a-half stretch to pay for the redevelopment.

The new law also requires minority participation.

One developer has proposed a Target Store to anchor a retail center.

That could coincide with Mayor Herenton's idea to tear down the Liberty Bowl and build a new football stadium.

But, that contradicts with the city opening the bidding process to renovate the Liberty Bowl.

Either way, something must be done because the Liberty Bowl has no ramps for wheel chairs as required by law.

The future of the Coliseum is also still up in the air.

And right now, the Fairgrounds Redevelopment Committee's master plan does not include any plans for the Mid-South Fairgrounds to continue operating here.

"We need to come together as a community and make a decision without having one person saying one thing and government doing something behind the citizen's back. This needs to be an open process, transparent, so everybody has input," said Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery.

The only thing that's concrete is the Salvation Army just got approval to build the Joan Kroc Community Center on site.

It would take up 15 acres on the Parkway side of the fairgrounds and include a community building, two soccer fields and parking.

The city's hosting a public hearing on the future of the Fairgrounds Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church.


to email Kontji Anthony.