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Mud Island celebrates 30 years with renovations

Mud Island celebrates 30 years with renovations
MEMPHIS (AP) — The new and improved Mud Island River Park is celebrating its 30th anniversary in style.
The Memphis Daily News reports the West Tennessee attraction has updated everything from its logo to its concert series and made improvements to areas that were damaged last year when the Mississippi River flooded.
Among the improvements are upgrades to the Riverwalk model kiosk, concession areas and amphitheater.
Permanent exhibits at the 52-acre park’s Mississippi River Museum won’t be changed, but traveling exhibits will be added.
The park’s general manager, Trey Giuntini, says people come to the island to learn about and enjoy the Mississippi River.
“The Mississippi River is woven into the fabric of America. It has been a major force in shaping the land and people of this country,” Giuntini said. “We have people from all over the world come to Memphis to learn about and experience the mighty Mississippi River. This park was built as a recreational, educational and entertainment facility that showcases America’s greatest waterway and we have this wonderful attraction here in Memphis.”
Some of the events that are planned include a youth fishing tournament, a commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial and four concerts.
“This is the first time in Riverfront Development Corp.’s 11-year history of managing the Park that we’ve announced shows this early,” Giuntini said. “And already all three Saturdays in April have events scheduled. We’re hitting on all cylinders from day one.”
The park attracted 140,000 visitors last year — with about 65 percent coming from out-of-town and 35 percent living locally.
“This is great considering that when RDC took over management of the park, the visitation averaged about 80 percent tourist and 20 percent local,” Giuntini said. “One of our goals was to increase local visitation at the park.”
He said there is something offered for everyone at the park.
“Tourists love the Mississippi River Museum and the Riverwalk model. For the first-time visitor, the museum, Riverwalk and monorail offer one of the most unique experiences in the world,” he said. “For the local visitor, special events and concerts bring them to the island. Then, we have a good number of people that canoe, kayak or ride bikes.” Published in The Messenger 4.16.12