Friday, January 25, 2019

New Plan for Tom Lee Park to be Unveiled Next Week

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2019 at 10:56 AM

click to enlarge A view of Tom Lee Park from Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept Plan. - STUDIO GANG
  • Studio Gang
  • A view of Tom Lee Park from Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept Plan.

Riverfront leaders will unveil the vision of the future for Tom Lee Park next Saturday and, with ideas from the community and guidance from two design firms, they say, ”We’ve finally nailed it.”

Last year, the Mississippi River Parks Partnership (MRPP) picked Studio Gang, a Chicago-based design firm, and SCAPE, a New York landscape and urban design firm, to lead the redevelopment of the massive park, perhaps best known as the festival grounds for Memphis in May. The Riverfront Development Corp. (RDC), the precursor of the MRPP, hired Studio Gang to deliver a new concept plan for the riverfront, which it did in 2017.

click to enlarge Studio Gang's concept plan shows a reactivated Wolf River Harbor. - STUDIO GANG
  • Studio Gang
  • Studio Gang's concept plan shows a reactivated Wolf River Harbor.

Early reports of the Tom Lee Park redesign have included adding rolling hills and trees to the park, and sectioning the now-wide-open space into a series of outdoor rooms. Such features were shown in Studio Gang's concept. But no new concept renderings have been published.

That will change at noon Saturday, February 2nd. The public is invited to see new pictures, a scale model, animations, and “an immersive virtual reality experience,” according to a news release from MRPP. The event will be held at a new “engagement center” located at the north end of Tom Lee Park. 
click to enlarge Coletta - MRPP
  • MRPP
  • Coletta

“Memphians have been imagining what this riverfront can be for almost 100 years,” said MRPP president and CEO Carol Coletta. “After two-and-a-half years of studying every riverfront plan and hearing from more than 4,000 Memphians, I think we’ve finally nailed it.

“Memphians are going to be so excited by what’s coming to Tom Lee Park. This project is already making national news and will be an unequaled civic statement we can all be proud of as we begin our third century.”

MRPP is halfway to its goal of raising $70 million to support riverfront projects. Some of the money has already been spent on the design and build of the new River Garden park, the River Line bike and pedestrian pathway, and the restoration of the historic cobblestone landing. The remaining funds will be spent to redesign Tom Lee Park.

click to enlarge An aerial view of the new River Garden park. - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • An aerial view of the new River Garden park.

Construction on the park is slated to begin in June and wrap up by the end of 2020.

The new Tom Lee Park Engagement Center will be open from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, for anyone interested in learning about the future of the park. MRPP staff will be at the center from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. every Wednesday and from noon-3 p.m. every Saturday through May.

For more information on the unveiling event, check it out on Facebook.

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