Wrestler Jerry Lawler among those opposed to Coliseum demolition | News
(WMC-TV) - The Beatles took the stage at the Mid-South Coliseum in 1966. Elvis performed in front of a hometown crowd in the 70's. Wrestling great Jerry "The King" Lawler once drew huge crowds as well.
"I literally performed there every Monday night for close to 30 years," says Lawler.
The former mayoral candidate is among those who would hate to see the old arena go down for the count.
"I always think it's a shame to see something fall by the wayside in the name of "progress," says Lawler.
Although not yet approved by the city council, plans for continued redevelopment of the fairgrounds and adjacent Liberty Bowl include only demolition for the long empty coliseum.
"The question we have to ask is there a higher and better use for that piece of land?" asks Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. "I have my opinion," he adds. "I think there is," says Wharton.
A non-compete clause at FedExForum ended concerts at the coliseum and millions would need to be spent to correct code issues, including accessibility for the disabled.
"But right now," says Wharton. "I just don't see it fitting in," he adds.
There are at least two Facebook pages devoted to saving the coliseum and Memphis Heritage will host a meeting Thursday night for folks on both sides.
"To bring in all the facts so everybody can make up their own minds," says June West with Memphis Heritage. "About what they think about the coliseum," she adds.
It's a building that continues to attract attention if not record-breaking crowds.
The coliseum is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. But so was the old church at Union and Cooper that just met a wrecking ball. The designation is mostly symbolic.