Councilmembers want more information about Fairgrounds and Mid-South Coliseum plans

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- After months of debate, a major step was taken toward the creation of what's being called the Greater Memphis Sports and Recreation Complex.

As WREG reported last week, the city now said it's supporting the Urban Land Institute recommendation to turn the old fairgrounds into a park, athletic entertainment and retail space.

But today on Live At 9, City Council members Alan Crone and Kemp Conrad said it's not a done deal quite yet.

"The plans are great. They're beautiful and everybody loves it, but again I think the devil is in the details." Crone said.

"That's what we'll be going over the next few weeks to make sure we maximize the potential of this really great piece of real estate in the heart of our community," Conrad said.

The initial plan was to transform the fairgrounds into solely a sports complex.

That would have meant tearing down the historical Mid-South Coliseum.

Marvin Stockwell with the Coliseum Coalition opposed that idea and told WREG last week he's pleased the ULI viewed things the same way.

"This plan made the coliseum an anchor in the development. That's very heartening to see," Stockwell said last week.

"This is an opportunity for the geographic center of the community with great history to be re-imagined," said Leigh Ferguson with the Urban Land Institute.

The city said the area can be redeveloped for about $184 million and Mayor A C Wharton said it'll be done without taxes going up, but Council members Crone and Conrad questioned how it would be funded and would the state step in to help pay for the project?

"It assumes we are going to get a huge increase in sales tax revenue by building the stuff on the fairgrounds. That money remains to be seen. I really want to see the details," Crone said.

"I know the state is waiting for a full baked plan and not a half-baked plan. I think kind of trust us, we'll figure it out. I think the state is waiting for a plan that makes sense," Conrad said.