MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis in May will return Tom Lee Park next year and in 2022 but the festival will be moved to another location for 2021.
Officials said the park will be under construction in 2021.
This year’s Memphis in May International Festival brought in more than $149 million in economic impact, which is an eight percent increase from the year before.
Mayor Jim Strickland said the festival will be relocated somewhere else for 2021 and at this point, Memphis in May officials said they haven’t discussed where.
“Once we start planning for 2021 – which will be soon because we work that far out – once we get to that point, we will start making some plans and start reaching out to alternative venues for (2021). But at this point, it’s still a little preliminary for us to do that,” said Robert Griffin, VP of Marketing for Memphis in May.
Downtown businesses said May is one of the busiest months of the year.
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Some owners said they’re already bracing for a decrease in sales if the 2021 festival isn’t close to downtown.
“About 25 percent down for the entire month of May, so it’s big, it’s significant. It’s a lot less people employed, and sales are down so we’re not selling as much food,” said Shawn Danko, owner of Kooky Canuck.
FOX13 asked Griffin how Memphis in May is addressing those concerns.
“We’re concerned about that too, and so is the mayor to be fair. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re in this mediation – to try to find a plan that works for all parties, so there isn’t a dramatic impact, negative impact on those businesses,” said Griffin.
Some business owners believe the proposed park construction should be completed in phases.
“Do a little bit in between 2020 and 2021 and then pick up the final details after 2021,” said Danko. “It doesn’t make sense to me why they can’t phase the approach and leave Memphis in May uninterrupted.”
Meanwhile mediation between Memphis in May and the Memphis River Parks Partnership continues.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must review any proposed changes to Tom Lee Park. The Corps of Engineer sent FOX13 this statement about Tom Lee Park:
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