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Memphis group makes renewed calls to refurbish the Mid-South Coliseum

Wednesday, some of those living next door in Orange Mound urged the city to halt any plans to put the wrecking ball on the historic building.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

Wednesday saw renewed calls to stop the demolition of the Mid-South Coliseum. 

We've heard many times from the building's support group - The Coliseum Coalition - but Wednesday, some of those living next door in Orange Mound urged the city to halt any plans to put the wrecking ball on the historic building - that's sat empty and unused for more than 15 years. 

Memphians said Mayor Jim Strickland's plan to tear down the Mid-South Coliseum is like ripping a thread from the historical fabric of Memphis. They said it has untapped resources that don’t need to be destroyed, but replenished. 

“We are better with the coliseum and with the facility for 901 soccer,” one attendee said. “We can have both, we are better with both.”   

Late last year Mayor Strickland proposed demolishing Memphis’ first racially-integrated arena in order to build a new soccer stadium for Memphis 901 FC, primarily using state dollars.  

“Eight years of the Coliseum Coalition's research, and the research of other people, and the enthusiasm of other people we know the building is restorable,” Marvin Stockwell, Co-Chair of the Coliseum Coalition, said. “It’s just going to take persistent vision and creativity.”   

The new stadium, not including the price of demolition, would cost nearly $53 million dollars to build. 

Gerald Boyd, who grew up during the time of the facility’s construction, said tearing down this building is unnecessary and strips Memphis of a valuable cultural landmark.   

“I was able to go to all of my major concerts at the Mid-South Coliseum; from, you name it, James Brown to Led Zeppelin,” Boyd said. “It wouldn’t make sense to tear this building down with good bones.” 

Boyd joined others, some from Orange Mound, Wednesday calling on city council to halt any approval of the mayor’s budget plans and to more thoroughly consider alternative uses for the historic facility.  

“No where to go to help our children in the school system,” Reasal Catron an Orange Mound resident said. “We've had a lot of issues but then to innovate things up in here to keep them occupied and governed I think that would be a really great thing for Memphis.” 

Those that advocate keeping the facility propose modernizing the coliseum and potentially using the facility to be mixed-use like Crosstown Concourse.   

“We’re also citizens of this city and we own this building,” Boyd said. “We just put a roof on it a few years ago and it would be a shame to waste all that investment."

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