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Downtown Memphis Commission votes down SOUL sign at Mud Island Park

The signs' creators said they wanted to remind us all that here in Memphis — We Have Soul.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — UPDATE 5-6-2021 - Wednesday, the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Design Review Board said no to the large sign after objections from residents.

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5-5-2021 - A proposed 40-foot long and 46-feet tall temporary placemaking installation on the south lawn of Mud Island Park will welcome visitors this summer and remind us all that here in Memphis — We Have Soul. Located opposite the MEMPHIS sign, the new installation is visible from downtown and supported by a flag drift colored to match the brand (and park furniture) of Mud Island Park. The installation is just one of a series of upgrades and improvements designed to create a more beautiful, accessible and fun Mud Island Park for this summer season.

“The Partnership is always looking for opportunities to add features and attract new activity to the riverfront,” said Carol Coletta, Memphis River Parks Partnership President and CEO. “Following the runaway success of the MEMPHIS sign, this temporary placemaking activation adds visual interest to the island from downtown and gives Memphians and visitors a new reason to visit the island. It’s going to be a very popular photo spot and, together with a whole package of upgrades, will generate new interest and foot traffic on Mud Island Park this summer.”

Along with the installation and accompanying flag drift, upgrades and improvements to the park for this season include:

  • Replacement of all turf on the south lawn with new, laser-leveled sod that will be more resilient to traffic.
  • Removal of inoperable flagpoles at the south tip of the island and replaced with a new seating area and the best views to the forthcoming construction on Tom Lee Park.
  • Repainting of the “Gulf Grill” and installation of a significant mural by Qwynto.
  • Repainting of entrance murals, park fixtures and furnishings.
  • Replacement and renewal of the slate map of Memphis on the Riverwalk.
  • New colored lighting on trees in the grove. 36 LED light fixtures will add a soft glow to the trees in the grove and provide a beautiful backdrop for the Memphis skyline.
Credit: Memphis River Parks Partnership

“So many Memphians hold fond memories of childhood visits to Mud Island Park,” said Tyree Daniels, Board Chair, Memphis River Parks Partnership. “The island is still a unique place with the unbeatable feeling of being ‘on’ the Mississippi River. These new features and upgrades give us all a new opportunity to make memories this summer.”

Mud Island Park is open seven days a week, year-round. But during the summer season the Mississippi River Museum is open to visitors, water fills the Riverwalk and food and drink concessions are available. The summer season starts on Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day weekend. The park is open 7 days a week with no admission fee. The Mississippi River Museum will be open each weekend from 10AM-4PM.

To celebrate the 2021 season-opening, museum entrance and kayak rental will be free for all, all weekend. Kayaks are available from River Garden on the downtown side of the harbor. After opening weekend, museum admission is $10 for adults, $8 for kids and free for children under 4.

The SOUL installation will be reviewed by the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Design Review Board on Wednesday, May 5. Memphis Tourism and We Are Memphis are sponsors of the installation.

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