RiverPlay Launches in Memphis

RiverPlay is a pop-up park along the Mississippi River in Memphis. Groundswell Design

The launch of RiverPlay today marks the opening of a new place for Memphians to recreate, rest, eat, and most importantly, interact and engage with each other. Situated on a busy four-lane road that separates two rarely-visited public parks on Memphis’ Fourth Bluff, RiverPlay is as an example of how to activate urban spaces to foster prosperous and equitable communities — and it’s all done with a sense of fun. RiverPlay’s pop-up park encompasses shaded places to sit and talk, a roller skating rink, three half-court basketball courts and local food trucks.

The RiverPlay concept builds on the Fourth Bluff’s wildly successful ice rink held this past winter, which drew 8,000 people in just a few short months. The ice rink’s popularity proved to city leaders that additional programing and activity would draw even more people to the Fourth Bluff over the summer.

Partnership with NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies

And as the project developed, it acquired some highly visible supporters, including the Memphis Grizzlies, whose “GrizzFit” coaches will be guiding the park’s play and providing “play catalyst,” to ensure that everyone gets into the action, no matter their fitness level, gender or age.

“This project appealed to us on so many levels”, says Diane Terrell, VP of Community Engagement for the Grizzlies and Executive Director of the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation. “First, it was an opportunity to bring the game we love to a beautiful setting on the river, to build the feeling of community our fans experience in our arena in a totally unexpected place. By transforming this stretch of pavement into an informal park, we’re helping to change the public conception of what a park is, and the many ways people can participate in creating new common areas like this one across the city.”

The pop-up park will be in operation until August. Read more about Memphis’ Civic Commns project here.

Reimagining the Civic Commons is a collaboration between The JPB Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and local partners.