The $200 million project to transform the Mid-South fairgrounds into a youth sports destination has been branded as Liberty Park. Officials said they plan to begin opening the park in 2022.
City officials announced the branding and timeline Thursday morning, calling Liberty Park a collection of cultural, education, entertainment, and recreation institutions in an expanded and unified campus vision.
Liberty Park will include existing assets such as the Liberty Bowl, Tiger Lane, the Children’s Museum of Memphis, and the Kroc Center. No mention was made of the now-vacant Mid-South Coliseum.
The park will also include a host of yet-built assets, including the Memphis Sports and Events Center, a 227,000-square-foot facility for youth sports and events. It will include indoor basketball and volleyball hard courts and will be adaptable for other sports such as wrestling, gymnastics, cheerleading, as events like convocations and commencements. The complex will also include a cafe and concessions area, multiple outdoor turf, and dedicated soccer fields, and a playground.
An 18-acre private development inside Liberty Park will include a public plaza, 90,000 square feet of family entertainment venues, 90,000 square feet of commercial office space, 100,000 square feet of retail and dining, two hotels, comprising 200 total rooms, and 100-150 apartments.
The private development will be built along Central Avenue in a space that currently houses a track and football field. The city will spend $3 million to move those assets to Tobey Park along Flicker Street. The money will be spread over three years in the city budget.
“Despite the issues we’re dealing with head-on, stemming from COVID-19, we have to simultaneously plan for the future,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “Building on the spirit of an iconic past, known for years as the Fairgrounds, Liberty Park is a destination that moves a historic site into its next century to one day bring Memphians and visitors together.
“A visiting family can check into their hotel, tour the Children’s Museum, and grab a bite to eat, all within walking distance, before their sports tournament even begins. Every user and element of Liberty Park can benefit from and contribute to all of the experiences that have traditionally happened on the property.”