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Libertyland. Save it or trash it?

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What do you all think the city should do with libertyland and the land beneath it? This week's Memphis Flyer ran a cover story about the subject. Personally, I've never been to libertyland and would probably not go unless it had some bigger roller coasters. The Flyer quotes law school professor and libertyland activist Steven Mulroy as saying libertyland is better than the alternative: mundane townhomes. Isn't this misleading? I thought the city was considering making the libertyland area into a 40 acre sports and recreation park with a matching grant from a foundation supported by McDonald's founder, the late Ray Kroc. Whatever happens, the article points out something undeniable: the land that the colliseum, liberty bowl, and libertyland occupies is very valuable to the city. It sits smack in the middle of Downtown and East Memphis and on the edge of the Cooper-Young movement. Thoughts?

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I'm a strong supporter of keeping the Mid-South Coliseum in tact and use, however I am less certian on what should be done with the Fairgrounds or Libertyland.

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I'm a supporter of Save Libertyland. I've been there many times and its small and affordable. I think they should expand it into the fairgrounds and use the Colesium for their skatepark and community center. Just throw on a little new paint and TLC and make the Midsouth fair type rides availble throughout the season and that alone will help attendence quite a bit. Maybe a small water park like Venture River in Eddyville (sp?) KY between Early Maxwell and Libertyland? And build a parking garage with retail and a space for a future light rail station in that sea of asphalt next to the Liberty bowl. Whats Tim McCarver stadium used for? That area could possibly become temporary parking while my proposed parking garage is being built.

I don't really have a problem with the Midsouth Fair moving out to the Agracenter if MATA provides a special routes.

Libertyland is a great asset to Memphis and I'd hate to see it razed. A small themepark is better than none at all. I think its kinda unfair that the Midsouth Fairgrounds reuse committee doesn't even want to listen to the private companies willing to buy it. Hope the city commison will.

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I agree with Bears that Libertyland could be made popular again with significant expansion and renovation. It could be a major component of the renovation of the Fairgrounds.

My general idea for the Fairgrounds is depicted in this photo.

post-2998-1141587724_thumb.jpg

Libertyland (or whatever it would be named) could be expanded east and north into existing parking lots. The new park (outlined in red) would be over twice the size of the existing Libertyland. I like Bears ideas about adding a water park and skatepark. An ice rink might also be possible, as we lost the one we had at Mall of Memphis.

The orange area to the north of Libertyland would be parking for the new theme park. I am not sure what the parking requirements would be for a park of this size - probably depends on its popularity! But if the footprint is too small, this could be a parking garage as Bears suggested.

The blue area would be the stadium and its associated parking. With the departure of the Mid South Fair, most of the cattle barn-type buildings (#1) can be razed. Building #2 is being converted into a new locker room/media center for the stadium, but virtually everything else will be cleared. Tim McCarver Stadium (#3) has already been demolished; this is now just an empty lot. All this empty land should not simply be paved over. Instead, I see a landscaped area where rows of parking spaces are separated by wide, tree-lined median strips suitable for tailgating on game days. The parking/medians could be designed in concentric circles around the stadium. The fairgrounds H.S. stadium (#4) could remain in place, and of course the Children's Museum of Memphis (#5) would remain, but I would like to see the abandoned Walgreens store (#6) and the industrial building (#7) acquired and the land incorporated for use in the new park.

The purple area south of the stadium is currently the Coca Cola Bottling Plant. Although it is not consistent with the land use we're suggesting for the fairgrounds, it will probably remain here for the immediate future. It is mostly isolated from the fairgrounds anyway by trees and the CSX railroad line that is below grade level.

The yellow area surrounding the Coliseum would be reserved for the youth/community center that is in the works.

The green area is Fairview Jr. High School. It would remain presumably - I would hate to see this fine example of Art Deco architecure torn down anyway.

Some transportation/infrastructure need would have to be addressed. Both Libertyland and the Liberty Bowl need to have well-engineered "grand entrances". The best place for the Liberyland entrance is probably off of East Parkway. The intersection of Central and Hollywood has always been the de facto entrance for the Liberty Bowl, so this should be rebuilt and dedicated to that purpose. The acquisition of the old Walgreens property would help accomplish this.

post-2998-1141587724_thumb.jpg

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Was the RR next to the Liberty Bowl donated too?

I'm not sure if everyone is familiar with Cordova, but the CSX line ends about 1,500 feet east of Berryhill and Macon. I think if they build a park and ride station with bike racks, and sidewalks along Sanga, Berryhill, Macon, and Houston Levee, many Tiger fans based in Bartlett and Cordova will use this line. Parking at the Libertybowl on gameday isn't easy and I think those fans would rather park or better yet, not drive at all and pay $1.50 for a faster and relaxing ride to the stadium. Light rail can go about 55 mph and between Germantown Road and the loop, there is only one stop at Shelby Farms. This line has few roads to go over but mostly it goes underneath bridges so it has no traffic to deal with.

Same goes for Libertyland. There are two reasons why people don't go. #1. Boring and #2 they don't feel safe parking in that area. The fairgrounds area will be the junction for three rail lines. Once the airport line is built, the Memphis light rail system will automatically be very extensive. Two of the three lines are already built so once trams actually start using the lines, the fairgrounds area will be very busy. This is why its so hard for me to understand why they want to raze Libertyland so quickly. What will come in its place? Libertyland is the only amusement park between the Appalachians, Hot Springs, and St. Louis that I know of. It has alot of potential

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Was the RR next to the Liberty Bowl donated too?

I may be incorrect about that line belonging to CSX. Mapquest says it as Illinois Central. It is quite busy. Everytime I go to a Tigers game at the Liberty Bowl, without fail, at least one train goes by.

This line doesn't actually connect with the donated CSX line. This railroad comes into town from Covington and Millington. Also, I believe the latest plans for the donated line are to turn it into a 13-mile long greenway/walkway.

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I may be incorrect about that line belonging to CSX. Mapquest says it as Illinois Central. It is quite busy. Everytime I go to a Tigers game at the Liberty Bowl, without fail, at least one train goes by.

This line doesn't actually connect with the donated CSX line. This railroad comes into town from Covington and Millington. Also, I believe the latest plans for the donated line are to turn it into a 13-mile long greenway/walkway.

I'm not sure if its an overpass or an intersection but the two railroads overlap a little west of the Central Library.

http://maps.google.com/?ll=35.135071,-89.9...002316,0.004742

The one coming from the Northeast is the CSX which goes along Sam Cooper and the the one going south heads to the fairgrounds.

I emailed Tom Fox a few days ago and here's what he said:

"Regarding the CSX Railroad right-of-way, the City and County are continuing to negotiate with the CSX for acquisition of the right-of-way. My understanding is that there will be provisions for future passenger rail even if an interim recreational use is allowed. MATA

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I'm not sure if its an overpass or an intersection but the two railroads overlap a little west of the Central Library.

The one coming from the Northeast is the CSX which goes along Sam Cooper and the the one going south heads to the fairgrounds.

I found that intersection on Google Earth. It's just a junction, at the same grade. Located right in the middle of the Poplar/Union viaduct.

I emailed Tom Fox a few days ago and here's what he said:

"Regarding the CSX Railroad right-of-way, the City and County are continuing to negotiate with the CSX for acquisition of the right-of-way. My understanding is that there will be provisions for future passenger rail even if an interim recreational use is allowed. MATA

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Save it, renovate it (add a few more key rides/attractions) and market that thing to the locals. I see Libertyland as a key component to quality of life for Memphians - many who don't have the opportunity to get away for fabulous vacations.

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Here's an update on the Libertyland issue:

There have been important developments regarding Libertyland this week:

1) The Mayor's office has received a letter of intent from Dan Aylward, CEO of Magic Springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas, according to Pete Aviotti, special assistant to Mayor Willie Herenton. This indicates the seriousness of the investor.

2) The Mid-South Fair has refused to turn over basic information (about Libertyland's attendance, revenues, and on-site assets) to the City Attorney's Office. This information is needed for negotiations with any serious investor.

The MidSouth Fair Board of Directors, by refusing to cooperate with the City Attorney, is contradicting every statement made so far to the newsmedia, city officials, and to members of Save Libertyland!

(MidSouth Fair officials and Libertyland management are on the record stating their willingness to sell Libertyland's assets to a legitimate park operator so that Libertyland can be saved.)

By turning down two offers in two months -- from T-Rex Entertainment as well as Theme Parks, LLC, parent company of Magic Springs -- the MidSouth Fair has needlessly slowed the re-use process and cost precious time.

It is apparent that the MidSouth Fair has abandoned its own mission statement, which focuses on "promoting local industry and providing safe, fun, family entertainment."

Denise Parkinson

co-chair, Save Libertyland!

March 23, 2006

:angry:

I wonder why the Fairgrounds Committee refuses to cooperate to save the amusement park. Losing Libertyland will be a big step backwards. I say either expand it or send it to Tunica.

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The only way to save Libertyland is demolish the entire thing and start over. Carefully pick apart the Zippin Pippin for those old enough to remember when I guess it was a decent attraction and send it to Tunica or somewhere so that it can be used again by the older population. If you truly want to save Libertyland, make it a REAL attraction. By that, I mean make it comparable to a Six Flags or a true amusement park! Don't save the Libertyland we have now, it's pointless and pathetic!

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The only way to save Libertyland is demolish the entire thing and start over. Carefully pick apart the Zippin Pippin for those old enough to remember when I guess it was a decent attraction and send it to Tunica or somewhere so that it can be used again by the older population. If you truly want to save Libertyland, make it a REAL attraction. By that, I mean make it comparable to a Six Flags or a true amusement park! Don't save the Libertyland we have now, it's pointless and pathetic!

exactly the first time i went to libertyland i was 17. and i think it was pitiful, and no doubt even when i was 7-8 i would not have been impressed with liberland, soverbey is correct in that it should be transformed to a world class, or at least national class(is that the correct words im thinking of ). zippin pippin should be kept though if a new park is constructed.

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The only way to save Libertyland is demolish the entire thing and start over. Carefully pick apart the Zippin Pippin for those old enough to remember when I guess it was a decent attraction and send it to Tunica or somewhere so that it can be used again by the older population. If you truly want to save Libertyland, make it a REAL attraction. By that, I mean make it comparable to a Six Flags or a true amusement park! Don't save the Libertyland we have now, it's pointless and pathetic!

If Libertyland expands, the price will go up. An expansion is needed but Six Flags is too big. Maybe a Six Flags sized park in Tunica or somewhere in the suburbs but not in the inner city. Orange Mound isn't a wealthy neighborhood and college students might want a cheap amusement park to go to a few times a year. As I said, an expansion would do wonders. A few years back, I actually took some visitors from Dallas there, and they had a great time :lol: Short lines compared to huge amusement parks and we could tell the ride operator "again" and off you go!

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Article on Libertyland

http://www.memphisdailynews.com/Editorial/....aspx?&id=92761

This thought just came to me. How do you guys think the fairs attendance will be affected by the closing of Libertyland? When you paid admission to the fair, and a wristband, you had access to the rides at Libertyland also. No Libertyland will decrease the number of rides.

I remember skipping school to go to the fair on wristband day. We would make the 70 mile drive and stay all day long ( I live in Batesville, Mississippi). Wristband day included admission to Libertyland. Save Libertyland!

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^Welcome to the forum! In the City and County Schools in Memphis, students use to get the day off until a few years ago I think. I think they should get the day off.

http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/state/article/...4677287,00.html

A racetrack has been proposed for the fairgrounds but I have no idea how this will pass with the state laws. Plus, this will probably kill Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis.

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Libertyland should definitely be saved. It needs to be totally renovated and expanded. All the things that should have happened over the last thirty years need to happen now. Get rid of the carnival rides and bring in some major modern rides.

I always wondered why Libertylands season wasn't extended into late fall or even early winter. Put the ice rink back in the sun dome and open just the Pippin and the Carousel. Do it just on the weekends.

Why not approach Auto-Zone about sponsoring a race track like Disneys test track. Fed Ex with a new coaster.

IMO an improved Libertyland benifits the city in so many more ways than a bunch of soccer fields.

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