Committee unveils grand plan for Shelby Farms - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Committee unveils grand plan for Shelby Farms

The Shelby Farms Park Master Plan Conservancy unveiled a vision to the Shelby County Commission Wednesday that would turn Shelby Farms into the Mid-South's version of Central Park, and an international model for urban parks.

Conservancy members said they have major plans for the 4,500 acre site.

"First of all we want to serve the people of Shelby County," master plan committee member Barbara Hyde said. "By doing that in a world class way, we think that we will become the great American park of the 21st century."

The Conservancy identified 12 activity zones.  They would build a lake for boating activities along with a beach for family fun, amphitheaters, sports fields and a community center.

Several commissioners wanted to make sure the park would be inclusive of all Memphians.

"What features will be available in the new park that will attract people from the inner city?" asked Commissioner Steve Mulroy.

Answering Mulroy's question, committee members pitched a plan to bus people from the inner city to enjoy activities like tree planting, Art in the Park - where artists show their works - and an urban forestry education program.

"We're going to look into the entire region and be sure that we are very inclusive," Conservancy member Rick Masson said.

The park plans also include biking, hiking, pedestrian, and horseback riding trails, fishing, gardens for people to grow food, a kayak launch, an area for family barbecues and a nature conservancy.

They would also put up windmills that generate power in an area to study alternative energy sources and other research technology like genetics.

Commissioners approved the master plan. It's four phases - about five years for each phase - and the conservancy would raise its own money to make it happen.

Click here to visit the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy's website.

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