MEMPHIS, Tennessee —
As early as Fall of 2020, construction crews could break ground on a brand new Tom Lee Park. Wednesday, leaders behind the project gave us a first hand look at its new features and a timeline of construction.
Access and usability are two things designers took into account while making this new plan. Also, architects weren’t the only ones doing all the work, Memphis residents had input on what they want to see at the park too.
“Our mission is to work with and for the people of Memphis to trigger the transformative power of the river,” said Carol Coletta, President of Memphis River Parks Partnership.
Designers want to be sure Tom Lee Park, which sits off the Mississippi River, really gives Memphians what they want.
“We had a team of young Memphians, teenagers working on the design alongside the architects. We had more than 4,000 people respond to surveys about what they wanted in the Park,” Coletta explained.
The 30 acres will be divided in four zones from the North end to the South end. The parks entry on the North end is the Civic Gateway Zone that include a water feature, community forest and river grove to connect the park to Downtown Memphis.
“That will have a new ADA accessible ramp coming down from the Bluff in a really nice sweeping, curving line where people I know will be sitting and taking family reunion photos the whole thing” Coletta said.
In the active core of the Park, there are plans for a canopy that will house food and drink options.
“There are these sound gardens in the South End that I’m really excited about. They’ll be hammock groves where people can get in their hammocks and enjoy the river. I think it’s going to be spectacular,” Coletta said.
There are also areas for picnics, stepped seating, outdoor grills and sheltered spaces. This is just the preliminary phase. The design plan has to be approved by the City of Memphis Design Review Committee.
Construction shouldn’t impact Memphis in May in 2020 or 2021. Construction crews will start on the outskirts of the park, then will work their way in.
The project is a public, private partnership with a budget of $60 million dollars. Leaders are hoping to get the design approved in order to start construction in the fall of 2020.