A view of Tom Lee Park from Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept Plan.
Three major Downtown business groups said Monday they support an improved Tom Lee Park but not at the expense of Memphis in May and its revenues.
Much noise has been made about the Mississippi River Parks Partnership’s (MRPP) $60 million plan to renovate Tom Lee Park. That plan would transform the now-flat, largely featureless expanse with gentle hills, trees, and permanent structures.
Much of that noise has been made from those fearing the updated park would force the festivals to move or shrink. MRPP has said neither of those would happen.
On Monday, the Memphis Restaurant Association, Memphis Metropolitan Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Beale Street Merchants Association issued a joint statement in support of an improved park but only if it does not harm Memphis in May.
Here’s the statement in full:
“We support an improved Tom Lee Park that showcases and embraces the Mississippi River.
Together, the Memphis Restaurant Association, Memphis Metropolitan Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Beale Street Merchants Association desire a park that fits the needs of the citizens of Memphis but that also accommodates the annual activities and events associated with Memphis in May and its $137 million-dollar annual economic impact on the city of Memphis and Shelby County.
If Memphis in May events are relocated or restructured, it could have a devastating effect on Downtown businesses and cause a loss in critical tax revenue from the Memphis and Shelby County hotel/motel tax and directly impact the revenue projected to be generated through the Downtown Tourism Development Zone — funds that can not be recuperated.
Downtown Memphis offers the amenities and services our community and visitors desire when participating in Memphis in May events. We are committed to a solution that supports improvements, encourages business, is accessible, and that allows thousands of citizens and visitors to experience our riverfront.”