East Memphis' Audubon Park will get a much-needed makeover over the next few years, with new amenities coming to the 373-acre area of sprawling trees and walking trails that runs between Southern and Park Avenues.
Those improvements include paving of the Park Avenue entrance and parking areas, new benches and trash receptacles, new trail markers on the walking trail, new water fountains, three new picnic tables, and the removal of the dilapidated pavilion on the west side of the park. There will also be a new playground and additional trees planted around the park.
By fiscal year 2019, the city projects it will spend about $1.4 million on improvements to Audubon Park, and those will be paid for through general obligation bonds.
The maintenance barn at Audubon Park's public golf course, The Links at Audubon, will also eventually be torn down, and a new maintenance barn will be constructed. That is accounted for in a separate area of the parks department budget. That project is expected to cost around $61,200 and will also be covered through general obligation bonds.
There are also plans to repair and repave golf cart paths at Audubon and the Fox Meadows Golf Course. Those plans are lumped together in the budget and will cost around $572,400 funded from general obligation bonds. The city expects those projects to have a positive effect on the city's operating budget since "capital improvements to the golf courses should increase rounds and reduce the burden on the operating budget," according to a report from the parks department.
Audubon Park is one of 30 city-managed recreational areas receiving upgrades this year, thanks to the Park Rehab Program started by the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods. Those other areas include the Memphis Pink Palace Museum's Planetarium, the Wolf River Greenway, Denver Park, and the football fields on American Way.
The work on Audubon Park began last September, and the park will remain open while the renovations take place. City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods spokeswoman Toni Holmon-Turner said that Audubon Park was chosen for the Park Rehab Program for two reasons.
"There are 30 parks within our park system that will receive updates and rehab," Holmon-Turner said. "These parks were chosen based on the condition of amenities and the distribution of improvement funds across the city. Audubon Park is a heavily used park and many of the amenities are worn."