The City of Memphis got a federal grant Tuesday that will help improve the area around Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion in Whitehaven, one of the city's top tourist destinations.
More than a million dollars will be used to beautify the Elvis Presley Boulevard Corridor from Shelby Drive to Interstate 55. The funds come from a $975,312 federal grant with a local match of $243,828.
"These enhancements will be seen by millions of tourists who come to our city each year to visit Graceland," said Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery.
The money will be used to improve the street and walkways, and for utility relocation and upgrades.
This is the first phase of the city's efforts to enhance the Elvis Presley Boulevard Corridor.
Future phases of the project will extend north of Winchester Road to I-55 and south of Craft Road to Shelby Drive.
City leaders and economic development officials have targeted the area for clean-up because of the numbers of tourists who visit to tour Graceland.
Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. has been in discussion with city and economic development officials for more than a year about its plans for a $250 million overhaul of Graceland mansion and the surrounding area.
The Graceland plans include razing the cramped visitor center -- located in a former strip mall across the street from the white-columned mansion -- and replacing it with a facility seven times the size of the mansion.
Graceland spokesman Kevin Kern said Tuesday he didn't have specifics about the grant the city received and was unable to comment.