- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A deserted and crumbling building in Memphis holds some of the city’s artifacts.

The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1oBqZB3) reports the 109-year-old Grand Carousel, the 3,000-pound Memphis Liberty Bell and the 1956 Mid-South Fair time capsule sit within the Mid-South Coliseum, which closed eight years ago and is littered with garbage, broken glass and standing water.

Memphis park services officials said that the arena has a security alarm, no patrols.

“We have probably been broken into,” said Larry Smith, deputy director of the Memphis Parks and Neighborhoods. “They break out windows occasionally, and we have them repaired or boarded up.”

The building has plywood covering broken glass doors to one entrance and poison ivy has grown along the walls surrounding another doorway.

“I don’t think it’s an appropriate use for that facility, and if those are important artifacts. I don’t think that’s right,” Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar said.

Officials say the historic items will be moved if the state approves a zoning request from the city, which would allow it to demolish the structure.

The Tennessee State Building Commission is expected to decide next month whether to grant the city’s request for fairgrounds tourism development zone, or TDZ.

If the request isn’t approved, Memphis Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb says the building “will continue to be moth-balled.”

“I’m hoping they will pass the TDZ,” he said.

Basar said he doesn’t think it’s likely.

“Based on what I have heard, the state is not going to approve the TDZ,” Basar said. “I don’t see it getting approved if the city’s contract hasn’t changed. The city of Memphis should not be in the land-development business. “

Meanwhile, history advocates have begun pushing to have the artifacts stored properly.

“I am gratified that they still have them,” said County Commissioner Steve Mulroy. “But it is extremely important that they keep them in good condition.”

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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