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Possible Savior for Zippin Pippin

Zippin Pippin may find a new home at Pyramid Harbor, a new amusement park to be built on Mud Island as part of the $250 million redevelopment for The Pyramid, Mud Island and the surrounding riverfront.

The Pyramid is a 21,000 seat arena located in downtown Memphis at the banks of the Mississippi River. The facility was built in 1991 and is owned and operated jointly by the city of Memphis and Shelby County. When FedEx Forum opened in 2004 as the city’s primary sports venue, The Pyramid lost its long term tenants. Several possible uses have been proposed over the years including the Pyramid Harbor project.

The overall project features new attractions including a year-round indoor theme park, upscale retail & dining venues, a 15,000 seat outdoor amphitheater and two hotels as well as revamped old favorites like the Mississippi River Walk and the Mississippi River Museum.

The Ericson Group, the developers of Pyramid Harbor reached an agreement with Save Libertyland! to move and renovate the coaster. The problem is the Save Libertyland! group is in a legal dispute with the city of Memphis over who owns the roller coaster. Zippin Pippin was sold at auction to the amusement park company Carolina Crossings, which then gave the coaster to Save Libertyland! The city gave Save Libertyland! five days to remove the coaster and claims that since the structure was not moved from the fairgrounds property, ownership has reverted back to the city.

Ericson is scheduled to present his Pyramid Harbor proposal to Memphis City Council members on January 22. He presented the plan to County Commission members in December.

The 1923 Zippin Pippin was designed by John Miller and built by Harry Baker and the National Amusement Device Company. The coaster has been standing idle since Libertyland closed at the end of the 2005 season.

* Lee Ann Draud
Publications Director
* Rus Ozana
ACE News Now Editor

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