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The Memphian

World's Fair

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I was reading an article about the world's fair preservation society. They are looking for space for a museum and office space. They also promote current and future sites.

Does anyone think we should pursue a Worlds Fair in Memphis? I was reading that the event can be between 3-5 months long,attracting millions of people from all over the world. This would certainly boost our economy. I realize Knoxville hosted it in 1982, but I believe with all the new infracstructure here we could certainly do as well or better than Knoxville did.

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I completely agree. I mean, I love Knoxville, but if it can hold one, I would think Memphis certainly could.

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Things to think about:

1) Where would you expect to put a World's Fair? To have the greatest financial impact it would need to be Downtown, but Downtown is cut up into numerous small pieces of land that would be very difficult to piece together a single plot of land for a fair. With Knoxville, the land had been a portion of a railroad yard that was nolonger being used and the floodplan of a small creek flowing into the Tennessee River. It would be easier to place it somewhere like Shelby Farms, but you would face people that don't want the distruction of the open space at Shelby Farms and the increased traffic associated with the Fair. They might be able to be swayed, if you could show them that the road network would be improved and the situation would be better after the Fair was over and that it would mean increased income for all the businesses in the Germantown Parkway/Cordova area. It would be a hard sell. Any further out and you are adding to sprawl and cutting back on the impact of the Fair to help the economy.

2) Most World's Fairs loose money. The Knoxville World's Fair was built on the cheap in order for it not to loose money. In order to gain from buildings constructed during the Fair, you cannot build on the cheap. This will almost guarantee that it will loose money. You have to have the political will to go into something that you know will loose money and be willing to increase taxes or whatever to cover the losses. I do not think that that would work in Memphis at the current time.

3) You will need to have the business execs motivated to do what it takes to push it. This means having AutoZone and FedEX pushing it hard and pulling others along with them.

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I believe Memphis hosting a World's Fair would be a great opportunity for the city to build on its image if it could pull off a huge event like this successfully; but like TennBear says most World's Fair's lose money and I have no clue as to where an appropriate site within the city could be found off the top of my head without the city having to make some major moves. I think corporate sponsors would probably be the easiest part of the deal.

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Or you could use it as the debut event for the new improved fairgrounds, as long as the redeveloped neighborhood is first-class (hotels, street-side retail, etc). It has the space, access and amenities are an issue. But perhaps it would help boost CBU into the next tier of research universities...

Also need to think of a theme. Something to do with Hernando Desoto? Or music and/or literature? Or something more progressive such as alternative energy usage (we have Sharp and its solar production here)?

Get the international companies to get behind it, such as Sharp, Brother, Smith & Nephew, now Toyota, etc.

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I know a location, Tom Lee park. Build the Memphis equivalent to the St Louis arch(which was for a worlds fair). and you still have a beautiful park 2-3 years later

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I know a location, Tom Lee park. Build the Memphis equivalent to the St Louis arch(which was for a worlds fair). and you still have a beautiful park 2-3 years later

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I know a location, Tom Lee park. Build the Memphis equivalent to the St Louis arch(which was for a worlds fair). and you still have a beautiful park 2-3 years later

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The St. Louis Arch was paid for by the Federal govenment as a Pork Barrel Project using it commemorate St. Louis as the Gateway to the West. The "Jefferson Nationial Expansion Memorial" was designed by Eero Saarinen. It was completed in 1965 and opened to the public in 1967. The St. Louis World's Fair was in 1906 in Forest Park. The Art Museum is from the World's Fair. Tom Lee Park and Fair Grounds are too small. Size wise. you are talking Audubon Park or larger.

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