What can be done to restore Mud Island in Memphis to former glory?

Some clarity could soon emerge around one of Downtown Memphis’ perennial questions: What can be done to restore Mud Island to its former glory?

According to New York-based real estate development advisory firm HR&A — commissioned to create a report about the best and highest uses for Mud Island — the answer to that query could begin with letting go of what Mud Island has been and looking at not only what it can be, but what is likely to be successful, said partner Jonathan Meyers.

“The key to places like this is to start from a place of real, direct honesty about opportunities and challenges,” he said. “The mistake that sometimes gets made is to say ‘well, gee, if we can convince, you know, a lot of people to behave in a way that they never behaved in the past and don’t normally behave right now, then we can have a very, very different future.’ And trying to bend the future to that, to that vision, is rarely successful.”

The realization that maintaining the status quo is not an option is another important hurdle to leap, said HR&A director Lydia Gaby.

“This project is really centered around the reality that Mud Island is in dire need of reinvestment,” she said.

Mud Island:Plan for Mud Island adventure park draws praise as potential catalyst for development

HR&A has studied Mud Island and come up with four umbrella concepts encompassing multiple reinvestment ideas for the island which can work in harmony with the ideas under different umbrellas. The concepts are the expansion of development on the northern part of Mud Island, creating destination entertainment and recreation activities, river research and education uses and emphasizing nature and the impact of the river.

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