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VOL. 132 | NO. 60 | Friday, March 24, 2017

Madison Avenue Park Sets Opening Date

By Patrick Lantrip

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(Madison Avenue Park)

A Downtown pocket park across the street from the Brass Door dubbed the Madison Avenue Park announced plans to officially open the public April 21 during an all-day event.

The park, which is located on the site of an abandoned Burger King, is a localized example of a nationwide movement to rediscover and activate previously dormant spaces and places.

“I’ve worked in Downtown Memphis for 20 years,” said Scott Crosby, a partner at the law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson and part owner of the Brass Door. “I’ve always been fascinated with ‘third places’ – where do people live when they’re not at work and they’re not at home. To some degree that was what creating the Brass Door was about, and it worked. When the Burger King became available, we knew we could do something great with it too.”

Similar efforts can be found in other core areas such as the South Main corridor, Mississippi Riverfront, the Pinch District, and the Edge and Crosstown neighborhoods.

Efforts to restore the once-blighted property began in 2013 when Crosby and his partners purchased it after an engineering study found the building, which had been empty since the late 1990s, was beyond repair, and the owners were facing possible legal action from the city of Memphis.

Crosby said various scenarios were debated, including a second pub or a surface parking lot, before deciding on making it into a park.

They then partnered with the PARC Foundation, a nonprofit founded by artist David Deutsch dedicated to “strengthening communities,” to design and fund the construction of the park.

The multileveled space includes ample green space as well as a small performance stage at the peak of its top level and a vitrine gallery space underneath. It was co-designed by Davies Toews Architecture and built by general contractor Montgomery Martin.

No tax dollars or other public incentives were used in any phase of the project.

Visit facebook.com/madisonavenuepark for a list of the opening day events.

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