Valero’s said its investment will be recognized in three places in the new Tom Lee Park:
- The Community Grove – A lush, natural gathering space in the Active Core of the park with a verdant tree canopy providing shade and protection from the elements.
- The Birch Forest – A beautiful forest of Birch trees connected to a new public art piece by Theaster Gates.
- Pollinator Shrubland – A natural area in the Habitat Terraces where trees meet shrubs, perennials and pollinators.
They said the trees include Tulip Poplars, Carolina Buckthorns, Winterberrys, and Pawpaws and will be strategically placed to create canopies and shade.
Valero said its employees will also do some work in the park, including leading community planting days.
“I’m excited to formally announce Valero’s support of Tom Lee Park. Although we’ve invested over $13 Million since 2006, this $1 Million contribution will be the largest single investment made here in the City of Memphis so far,” said Eric Brown, vice president and general manager of the Valero Memphis Refinery, in a statement. “We are proud to help fuel Memphis’ efforts to create the most spectacular riverfront in the country. The newly redesigned Tom Lee Park will transform the riverfront into an incredible gathering place with recreational, fitness, and educational opportunities for families, for generations to come.”
“We are thrilled to put this generous gift from Valero to work by creating an important new landscape for the park,” said Carol Coletta, president and CEO of Memphis River Parks Partnership. “As Kate Orff, the park’s lead landscape architect, has written, ‘Communities that invest in, engage with, and yes, love their landscapes are at the heart of making our way in a climate-changed world.’ Valero’s investment in more than 1000 trees in Tom Lee Park is a gift that Memphians will still be enjoying 100 years from now.”
The Memphis River Parks Partnership said the investment by Valero brings funding of the park to almost 90% of the $61 million total.