Updated May 16, 2018 11:15:53After more than a decade of struggling with budget cuts and declining attendance, Memphis Parks & Rec (MPPR) has announced plans to renovate a historic structure and expand its footprint, but it’s not the only park in town to have made major strides.
The parks department announced Thursday that it has received $30.5 million in grants and other support from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Memphis Metropolitan Housing Authority.MPPR is hoping to open new parks, renovate historic buildings, and create a more sustainable environment, which it hopes will help the community’s economic future.
The city plans to build and restore parks and other facilities, including the Memphis Botanical Garden and the Museum of Natural History.
The Memphis Museum of Art is slated to open in 2019.MPR has long struggled to meet attendance expectations.
Last year, attendance was only 53,000, which has remained well below the average of roughly 90,000 visitors annually since 2007.
According to a report released earlier this year by the U of M’s Center for Economic and Policy Research, the city has experienced a drop in property tax revenue, and in 2017, the average property tax rate in Memphis was 6.1%.MPPR officials have said they hope to bring back a large part of the city’s historical landmarks and historic districts.
Last summer, they unveiled plans for the Memphis Museum Of Art, which will include a permanent collection of works by such notable artists as Maya Angelou, Claude Monet, and René Magritte.
The project has also received support from private donations.
MPPR hopes to open the museum in 2019, and the museum will be a focal point for local cultural and historical activities.MPPr’s financial plan, which was released Thursday, calls for $2.5 billion in renovations and new projects.
It also calls for a $1.6 billion expansion of the Botanical Gardens and $1 billion expansion and renovation of the Museum Of Natural History, which are slated to be completed in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
It’s also looking to bring new attractions to the parks.MPRP will seek $1 million in federal grants, $50 million in private funds, and $75 million in community investments, as well as other private, community-based and private funds.
In addition to new facilities, MPPR is also looking for a new, large building at the corner of U. S. and N. Sibley avenues to house the new Botanical Museum.
The renovation will include $1,000 per day for maintenance, plus a new lobby.
MPRP also hopes to hire 100 full-time workers and hire 30 part-time employees over the next three years.MP Pr’s fiscal 2018 budget was $18.8 million, a reduction from $19.4 million in the previous year.
The department expects to have a surplus in the 2018 fiscal year, but the budget will be subject to approval by the city council.MP pr is also seeking $2 million from the state of Tennessee, which would help cover the cost of a new public library, the construction of new facilities and infrastructure, and for additional funds for maintenance.MPpr will also be looking for $50,000 in federal funds and $100,000 from the American Cancer Society.
The federal government has already committed $150,000 for the first phase of the project, and a $50-million grant will be awarded to MPPr.