Plans For Fairgrounds Unveiled, Coliseum Supporters Unhappy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( - City leaders unveiled the future of the fairgrounds Monday night. At the KROCK Center community members got its first glance at what the area could become. Leaders are dubbing the $160 million project the Memphis SportsPlex


"This is something that is going to draw tourists to the area, " said Memphis mayor Jim Strickland. "It will allow local kids to participate in sporting events out there. Also, it will improve the area and bring in economic development. I think it'll be a win-win."



But not everyone saw the plans that way, specifically supports of the Coliseum.


"I just want Memphis to stay, music oriented, wrestling oriented arts," said Pam O'Brien. "Every single city in the country has sports, we don't need more sports."


During Monday's public meeting a dozen or so people voiced their concern for the plans to invest money into the area. Plans that include $10 million towards the renovation of the Pipkin Building.


Even the woman who's husband's name appears on the building isn't in favor of it.


"The building had it's time," said Martha Pipkin. "I want to see the Coliseum brought back. My heart is so full thinking about the shows it had."


City leaders announced plans to board up and improve the roof of the Coliseum. The estimated cost of investment, $500,000.


"Crazy!." exclaimed Mark Jones, president of the Coliseum Coalition. "I think the Pipkin Building should be demolished and whatever money was going to be spent in the Pipkin building, should be applied to the Colosseum."


The city said the plans outlined Monday are just a "Wish-List" of items submitted by stakeholders in the community. Those ideas include an indoor track, basketball, renovated baseball fields, a hotel, retail space, a 500 space parking garage and more.


The plan still needs to be presented to Memphis City Council for approval. If the project is given the green light, construction could begin as early as 2019.




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