Five Million Dollar Grant will help develop Memphis’ Fourth Bluff

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's already one of the best views in Memphis, but not everyone is like Robin Wigginson, who works downtown and has a front row view of the parks and scenery.

"I love the park. I am glad they keep the grass cut. There are some places to sit, and there is a good view," said Wigginson.

With a $5 million grant, the City of Memphis hopes more people will get this view.

Memphis is one of four cities that won money to re-design public spaces and draw in more people and dollars.

The national effort is dubbed 'Re-imagining the Civic Commons'.

In Memphis, the space is The Fourth Bluff.

"We are trying to get people to use these spaces. These are really underutilized really beautiful open public spaces," Meagan Higgins with Innovate Memphis told WREG.

Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park and the Cossitt Library, the oldest library in the city, are also included.

The plan is to bring in events and show the public creative ways the spaces can be used.

"A lovely beer garden where people can come and sit or at this side of the park maybe there is a beer garden. Down at the River Park what if there was a really cool natural interactive playground?" said Higgins.

James Cox volunteers at the Cossitt Library and has been hoping for something like this.

"The library is great for all kinds of communications, parties, get-togethers or whatever."

The grand plans come as some deem parts of downtown unsafe.

The parks targeted are also havens for the homeless, and there's been crime.

WREG recently profiled the problem.

"Drinking going on, arguments break out, and assaults happen," a homeless advocate told us in July.

That image is one the city hopes this grant money will help turn around and turn some prime city space into top attractions.

"Studies have shown the biggest deterrent to crime in a park is activity," said Higgins.

The others cities getting the grant money are Akron, Chicago and Detroit.

While those cities have seen a surge in crime, WREG was told crime was not a determining factor in cities winning the grants.

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