MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A highly anticipated civic center is now open in the Mid-South.
Thursday, city leaders held a ribbon-cutting for the Raleigh Springs Civic Center.
It was once home to the Raleigh Springs Mall and is now a multi-functional epicenter.
“After two years nearly 200 public meetings and the engagement of over 15,000 residents, the Memphis 3.0 comprehensive plan is now being implemented in everything we do,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.
The site includes a skate park, a library, an 11-acre lake, walking trails for the public, and a police precinct.
It’s been a long time coming as the multi-million-dollar project took years to complete.
The city approved the project in 2013, but delays and a legal fight to get the mall up and running held the process.
“It’s wonderful because it gives me an outlet where I don’t have to go so far to get to places to walk and exercise and to just see the young people come out and they’re having fun also,” resident Bobby Crawford said.
Crawford walks along the trail at the Raleigh Springs Civic Center at least 5 times per week.
He’s lived in the community for 40 years and remembers when the Raleigh Springs Mall was the place to be.
“It was a booming thing. I mean this was the place to go for everybody in this area. I mean it was just a thriving metro thing,” he said.
During the official ribbon cutting Thursday, City Councilwoman Rhonda Logan also recognized the significance of this site for the community.
“Years ago, as a teen, I walked these grounds at the Raleigh Mall making memories and today little did I know that years later, I’d walk these same grounds of the new Raleigh Civic Center as your city council representative,” Logan said.
James Dacus says the area is new to him.
He skates at the park a few times a week and says he hopes this is the beginning of more growth and development in the area.
“It gives more opportunities for the youth to be active and safe to learn. Any way you can express yourself, whether it be for reading or skating or just knowing you have police in the neighborhood to keep you safe,” Dacus said.
Some amenities like the library won’t be open to the public until December.