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Rundown Mud Island Park to get $4 million in improvements

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 9:58 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shocking photos shared on social media this week show the deteriorating conditions at Mud Island Park in Downtown Memphis. Busted windows, broken glass, the mock-up of the Mighty Mississippi filled with weeds and dirt instead of water.

The park, now 40 years old, has seen better days. Pictures posted to Facebook were taken Wednesday at the once vibrant attraction in downtown Memphis, and they paint a picture of a property desperately in need of TLC.

“It’s a shame this jewel has been neglected over the years and is just sitting there,” Joyce Worsham Adams wrote on the post, now shared hundreds of times.

“I wish I could take my younger 2 kiddos,” wrote Drew Gentry, “but it’s a wreck and not safe.”

“I hope it isn’t open to the public in that condition,” Desi Franklin said in her Facebook comment.

And Samuel B. Nelson shared his stunned reaction when he saw the dilapidated park: “I went over there and thought it was the beginning of a horror movie.”

The City of Memphis tasked the non-profit Memphis River Parks Partnership with taking care of Mud Island. MRPP told Action News 5: “When Mud Island opens for the season in May, limbs from recent storms will be gone and the Riverwalk will be full of water and functional.”

MRPP said the island requires $20 million of deferred maintenance and that doesn’t include the monorail or the amphitheater. The City of Memphis is issuing $200 million in bonds to fund a program called Accelerate Memphis, which will provide $4 million for Mud Island. The improvements to the park, said MRPP, will get underway this summer.

The north entrance will also get a makeover and the walking bridge will get new lighting.

Memphian Jerred Price took this week’s photos of the rundown conditions at Mud Island Park and told Action News 5:

“We, the citizens who shared these photos on social media, appreciate MRPP seeing our concerns and addressing them. But these are long term problems we had hoped to see addressed before we invested $60 million into another park that wasn’t broken.”

Price is referring to Tom Lee Park in Downtown Memphis and the multi-million dollar renovation MRPP is in charge of right now. Construction on the sweeping makeover of TLP is expected to be completed in 2023.

Fans of Mud Island, meantime, remain hopeful the once beloved destination can sparkle and shine again for another generation to come.

MRPP said the first Sunset Kayak of the season is coming up soon. You can paddle around the Wolf Harbor in a free kayak which launches from the boat ramp on Mud Island. You’ll enjoy a beautiful sunset, a view of the city skyline and listen to music playing from a party barge. Sunset Kayak trips are every last Thursday of the month, starting April 28 through September 29.

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