Shelby Farms Park improvements could hinge on inner city access - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby Farms Park improvements could hinge on inner city access

The park is asking the Shelby County Commission for $3 million to complete the project. (Source: ShelbyFarmsPark.org) The park is asking the Shelby County Commission for $3 million to complete the project. (Source: ShelbyFarmsPark.org)
Shelby Farms Park is on the brink of a major transformation, but the issue of inner city access to the park could put a wrench in those plans. Shelby Farms Park is on the brink of a major transformation, but the issue of inner city access to the park could put a wrench in those plans.

(WMC) - Shelby Farms Park is on the brink of a major transformation, but the issue of inner city access to the park could put a wrench in those plans.

The park conservancy mapped out extensive plans to add amenities to the heart of the park, which includes an expansion of Patriot Lake, erecting an event pavilion, as well as scenic decks and walkways. See the plans in a slideshow here.

The park is asking the Shelby County Commission for $3 million to complete the project.

However, some commissioners say the only way they'll approve the funding is if the park makes good on a promise to provide inner city families bus and/or shuttle service to the park.

"Shelby Farms is a great treasure, but it really only works as a public park, if it's got regular access to kids in the inner city," said Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

"If we're going to spend $3 million taxpayer dollars, we need to make sure that all taxpayers have the opportunity to enjoy this park," said commissioner Henri Brooks.

"We've not done enough to do that, especially for poor, inner city children," said commissioner Mike Ritz.

The conservancy told commissioners the goal is to have transportation between the inner city and the park within a two-year trajectory, but commissioners want that in writing.

"I'd like to get concrete assurances that starting this year, kids in the inner city have a regular, cheap way to get to Shelby Farms and enjoy all that is there," said Mulroy.

"We'll stay very close to that to make sure that happens," said Shelby Farms Park Conservancy Executive Director Laura Adams.

The park says 60 percent of children they service have financial challenges and they've raised private funds to help them. The park wants to start construction in June.

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