Changes to Mud Island River Park bringing in more visitors

Updated: Jul. 15, 2019 at 6:06 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - 2018 was a record-setting year for Memphis tourism. Close to 12 million people visited the Bluff City last year - a seven-percent increase from the year before.

Mud Island’s mini-makeover has caught the eye of tourists and even locals. An average weekend day last year saw about 100 visitor to the River Park. Now anywhere between 300 to 400 people come to take in the sights during the week.

There’s a new flurry of activity on the south end of Mud Island these days. People whizzing by on electric scooters and visitors from around the world are now coming to see the Mud Island River Park’s biggest addition, capturing an Instagram worthy souvenir of their time in the Bluff City.

“Got some lovely photos taken because its a beautiful backdrop. That is fantastic. You get the photo with the “Memphis” and skyline,” said Brian Law.

Memphis was a stop on their trek across Tennessee for Law and Terry Rossitter along with their wives visiting from England. The couple learned about the park after Memphis made its way onto Frommer’s list of Best Places to Go in 2019.

“We saw a little bit of information on it and we thought we will check it out this morning,” said Law.

Memphis River Parks Partnership took over the management of the park last spring.

The cosmetic upgrades to the park aren’t going unnoticed by the locals.

“Runners, bikers, they’ve noticed the change. People who bring their dogs over have certainly seen the change now that we’ve opened all day every day we see there are habits kind of forming, which is really exciting for us,” said Ruby Zielinski, with Memphis River Parks Partnership.

There are now cafe lights strung through trees in the park. Along with new pops of color and an evening concert series.

“I think a lot of what we are working on is kind of prototyping. You know, what works what doesn’t work and asking the question are people even interested? And peoples are interested which is great,” said Zielinski.

But there is more to come. In September, we’re expected to see the a crop of sunflowers bloom. And there is a list of other projects that are being kept under wraps, for now.

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