Officials break ground for multi-million dollar Liberty Park project
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Monday, Memphis leaders broke ground on a multi-million dollar facelift of the historic Mid-South Fairgrounds Monday, making way for the Memphis Sports & Events Center at Liberty Park.
“My first meeting as a city councilman in 2007 was talking about a youth sports complex here on the Libertyland site,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “It died, basically, but the people I work with have picked it up.”
Conversations of revitalization have been in the works for years.
A plan was solidified last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the groundbreaking.
All those who participated in the groundbreaking and the ceremony would agree this has been a long time coming.
Kevin Kane, President and CEO of Memphis Tourism says Liberty Park will have an indirect effect of nostalgia for Memphians, that the multiple events and sites these grounds hosted is something many city residents can draw memories from.
“Whether it was Libertyland, whether it was the Mid-South Fair, or whether it was a great football game, the Mid-South Coliseum, or when we had Tim McCarver Stadium, this is the next incarnation of this for citizens of Memphis and Shelby County,” Kane said.
The revitalization project will consist of a 227,000 square-foot youth sports facility with indoor basketball and volleyball courts that can also be used for wrestling, gymnastics and cheerleading.
The park will also include the sports center, entertainment venues, dining, retail, office space, two hotels with 200 rooms total and 150 apartments.
“It’s also a great economic opportunity for Memphis and Shelby County because youth sports and travelling sports is a multi-million dollar business to any community,” said Kane.
Strickland says this will serve not only those who visit Memphis for sporting events but also the kids who live in the area, providing them constructive life lessons that come from team sports.
“I say this often that young people need something productive to do when they’re not in school. Team sports, there’s nothing better,” the Mayor said.
Approximately $200 million will be invested in the project, which is set to open in October of 2022.
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