The CEO of the Memphis River Parks Partnership (MRPP) expects the new-look Tom Lee Park to bring around 700,000 visitors a year and help bolster tourism Downtown.
MRPP plans to hold a grand reopening celebration and activities on Sept. 2 for the public unveiling of the $61 million redesigned Tom Lee Park.
Carol Coletta, president and CEO of MRPP, told MBJ that she expects the new look attraction to become a catalyst for bringing people closer to one of the largest rivers in the world.
“Because of where I live and work, I have encountered many cruise ship passengers either coming on or off the ships who have asked, “Where are the people?'” she said. “I think no doubt this will become the place to see the Mississippi River. This is one of the most storied rivers in the world, and now we have this showcase spot from which to see and enjoy the river. That is an exciting thing from a tourist standpoint.”
Coletta noted her organization has placed an emphasis on making sure the remodeled park is seamlessly connected to Downtown.
“This is an urban [space], and if people have to park, we want them to park Downtown,” she said. “We want them to walk to the park and back and pass four restaurants on the way. We want them to come out of their hotel rooms and feel like this is a fabulous asset that they can use on a daily basis. This will be a huge asset to Downtown residents, office workers, and hotels. This is not a stranded asset and will be a very connected asset.”
Paul Young, president and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC), told MBJ that last summer he visited Little Island in New York. That $260 million public park opened in 2021. He said that places like Little Island and the redesigned Tom Lee Park are outside spaces that help draw people to an area.
“Great cities have great public spaces or things that people remember when they leave,” he said. “This is the type of thing that tourists are going to appreciate as well as Memphians. This is a great asset for Downtown because one of things we would like to see is more pedestrian activity. The park will create safety, vibrancy, and it’s an economic catalyst.
“People are going to walk to this park,” he continued. “They’re going to come from the Bluff, Front Street, Main Street, and come down our corridors to get to this park, so that is going to be economic activity for businesses.”
This article was originally published at “bizjournals.com“