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VOL. 130 | NO. 190 | Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cossitt Library’s October Events Designed to Activate Riverfront

By Bill Dries

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Far from Tiger Lane, University of Memphis football fans will have a new place to tailgate Friday, Oct. 2, as the Tigers play the University of Southern Florida in Tampa.

It’s also the kickoff of a month of events to call attention to one of the best views of the Mississippi River on what was once known as the “promenade.”

The city of Memphis and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, with the Downtown Memphis Commission and Riverfront Development Corp., are having a tailgate party in the rear of the Cossitt Library property, at 33 S. Front St. on the northwest corner of Front and Monroe Avenue.

The effort is the first in a month-long series. It’s also a different kind of “previtalization” than Memphians have seen with the old Tennessee Brewery and Station 3: The Memphis Firehaus event at the old city fire station at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Third Street. Both structures had been closed for long periods of time.

The library, the city’s original public library when it opened in 1895, remains open.

Maria Fuhrmann of the Innovation Delivery Team described the tailgating and some future events in October that are still being organized as a chance to see “how this can become part of the beaten path.”

“It offers one of the most beautiful views of the riverfront,” she added.

Organizers have placed furniture from the Tennessee Brewery and the Riverfront Development Corp. in green spaces outside the Cossitt Library to encourage more seating. (Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law)

Lawn furniture and other party trappings were being moved onto the rear lawn facing the river Tuesday, Sept. 29, in preparation, said Ryan Jones, communications director for the law school. Live music will be included as well.

“We’ve gotten a bunch of the furniture from the old Tennessee Brewery and some furniture from the Riverfont Development Corp. – picnic tables and the like – and we’ve set all of those out in the green areas to encourage more seating out there,” Jones said. “Really it will be a nice extension of what we have to offer.”

The law school also is extending Wi-Fi coverage to the area for students and the public as part of a permanent increased presence and use of the promenade.

The party Friday will shift and expand from the Cossitt over to the rear of the law school, 1 N. Front St., at the 6 p.m. kickoff in Tampa. The university is providing a large-screen television opposite the law school building’s loading dock.

The month-long series of events also are designed to encourage more activity.

“We’re putting a lot of stuff back there,” Jones said. “We did pull a special-event permit so if somebody wanted to do a reception back there on the promenade, we have a special-event permit for catering or beer vendor sales back there for the month. So we are kind of giving the public the tools to utilize the space and then we’ll see what works best.”

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