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Designers back in Memphis to rework renderings for Tom Lee Park redesign

In a story you only saw on Local 24 News, Tuesday afternoon out-of-state designers returned to the Memphis riverfront in their latest attempt to redesign Tom L...

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – In a story you only saw on Local 24 News, Tuesday afternoon out-of-state designers returned to the Memphis riverfront in their latest attempt to redesign Tom Lee Park.

Designers must draw up new blueprints after concerns of last year’s proposal led to months of mediation.That mediation between the Memphis River Parks Partnership and Memphis In May set up specific dimensions of what could go where on the 30 acres of land.

The designers Tuesday shielded themselves from the rain as they toured the riverfront and began work to rework the renderings.

“Good things take time and be a little patient, but not too patient,” Carol Coletta with the Memphis River Parks Partnership said.

The designers hired by MRPP must tweak the initial drawing of Tom Lee Park’s redesign, which included rolling hills and new trees.

“It’s not a scrapping of anything, what it is is some subtle movements,” Coletta said.

The design limits established in mediation spell out how the park’s changes will co-exist with the open space needed for Memphis In May’s signature events: Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking contest.

“We think that this will benefit all parties involved, especially the citizens of Memphis, it’s their park to begin with,” Robert Griffin with Memphis In May said.

The new renderings are expected to be ready for review in the spring. A city of Memphis committee and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must also sign off on any redesign of the riverfront.

“Where do we begin and what elements we do first, that’s something that’s in the team’s hands and that’s something I think we’ll know in a few months,” Coletta said.

“It helps us ensure that there are no surprises for any of the parties involved,” Griffin said.

The plan is for Memphis in May events to move elsewhere in 2021 for construction before the festivities return to Tom Lee Park in 2022. Those with Memphis In May said they’re exploring 2021 locations but said somewhere in downtown Memphis is the preference.

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