ULI: Save the Coliseum, Youth Sports for Fairgrounds

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The Mid-South Coliseum - BRANDON DILL
  • Brandon Dill
  • The Mid-South Coliseum
The Mid-South Coliseum should be saved and used for events like concerts and the Fairgrounds should have a state-of-the-art youth sports facility, according to a new report issued by the national Urban Land Institute [ULI] Wednesday.

ULI delivered its recommendations for the Mid-South Coliseum and the Fairgrounds in a report called “Memphis, Tennessee: A Vision for the Memphis Fairgrounds.” The report is the product of the group’s week-long visit to the site in June.

The group says the Coliseum and the Fairgrounds could be a “a major gathering place for the residents of Memphis and the surrounding region.”

Here’s what the group proposes for the Coliseum:

“Repurpose the Coliseum to create an events structure that could host smaller events and concerts.

While the panel recognizes the costs of restoring the Coliseum, it appreciates the facility’s significance in the city’s history.

As a result, the panel recommends preserving at least part of the structure or its shell for reuse as an indoor facility with a larger outdoor stage for a range of events such as concerts, sports games or graduations.”

Here’s what ULI proposes for the Fairgrounds in general:

"Create a unique state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor youth sports facility oriented toward sports, such as boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, gymnastics, and fencing.

This facility could include several indoor multi-sports courts, academic tutoring and study rooms, concession and merchandising spaces, and removable and retractable bleachers to create a championship court, among other uses.

The complex could be used for a variety of events and tournaments that would attract local and regional users as well as a vibrant gathering place for the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The report also encourages the creation of a “Midtown Collaborative,” a group responsible for “engaging neighborhood representatives, nearby universities, existing institutions on the site such as the Kroc Center and Children’s Museum, the youth sports facility operator, and other businesses and stakeholders to create more unified support and accomplish greater goals for the Coliseum and Fairgrounds area.”

Check back here for more details as the story develops.

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