And the winners are: New York City's Field Operations, San Francisco's Hargreaves Associates, and Tom Leader Studios of Berkeley, California. The firms were narrowed down from an international search that yielded 33 potential design studios.
The winning firms will begin gathering public input at a series of forums beginning Wednesday night at the Memphis Botanic Gardens from 5 to 7 p.m. Representatives will also be in town studying the 4,500-acre park.
Each group will have until March to work on their design, when the three plans will be unveiled to the public. A second public comment phase will follow, and the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy hopes to have the completed master plan ready by April 2008.
All three firms have impressive resumes. Field Operations is currently converting a 2,200-acre landfill (known as Fresh Kills) in Manhattan into the citys largest public park. Hargreaves turned an industrial wasteland into a major public river park in Louisville, Kentucky. And Tom Leader Studio is responsible for Birmingham's Railroad Reservation Park, a rail-viaduct-turned-public-space.
In addition to Wednesday night's meeting, the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy is hosting several public input forums to determine what people would like to see in the future Shelby Farms Park:
Nov. 20, White Station High School, 5-7 p.m.
Nov. 26, FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis, 5-7 p.m.
Dec. 1, Shelby Farms Park Visitors Center (youth forum), 10 a.m.-noon -- Bianca Phillips