He had a grand scheme to completely redevelop the fairground in to a shopping/lifestyle center. During this time Libertyland was shuttered and the Mid South Fair bailed.
He signed off on a a noncompete clause with the Griz that effectively caused the Mid South Colossium to fall into disrepair. He allowed the venue size to be set way too small at 6,000. This has meant that Memphis has continued to be hamstrung on renovating the MSC and the Mud Island amp. This allowed Southhaven MS to build a 10,000 seat arena and 10,000 seat amp and steal over 40 events a year from Memphis proper. It has now led to a nasty dispute with Graceland as the Elvis folk want to built a performance space that seats over 6,000 as part of a larger project and the Griz have objected to any TIF financing for it. King Willy is the gift that keeps screwing Memphis.
It was during this time that Memphis stalled and Nashville took off. But... at last count, they was billions of dollars development and redevelopment about to be dropped on downtown Memphis. It made USA Today's top 5 places to visit this year and has made Frommer's top 19 for 2019 places in the world to visit for next. This idea for a Tivoli like park on Mud Island would just be a missing piece in the puzzle that Memphis is about to solve.
Nrthwnd wrote:^ Okay. I am curious. What did 'he' do there?
Libertyland was a nonprofit entity sitting on city land; think a situation kinda like Kentucky Kingdom, except with an even more aggressive to chuck the park mentality from City Hall. The city could have done all sorts of things to assist since it was an asset that was valuable to the general populace, but they did the usual thing and thought short term, immediate payback potential and of course when the recession hit, that ended any hope of the area being redeveloped (if there was really any shot at all). Given that there were serious issues with kickbacks on other projects, its not entirely unlikely that Libertyland being set up to fail (poor investment in infrastructure surrounding, reduction of transit to park, bad revenue sharing deals, skyrocketing rent and utility costs that would have been generated by the city) was something which had been prepped in backrooms with briefcases full of money.
I still believe Houston and Phoenix are the two biggest contenders for medium-to-large sized amusement parks. Houston is the 4th largest city in the country by population (after the obvious big three), and Phoenix is 6th.
I know population isn't the only factor that allows a park to thrive, but I'm still surprised after all these years that Phoenix only has Castles n Coasters. At least there was a Six Flags in Houston for several decades. I wonder why nobody has attempted to tap into the Phoenix market? I've heard the excuse of "excessive heat" throw around, but it's not like California or Florida are much cooler.
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