Hyde family makes large donation to Shelby Farms - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Hyde family makes large donation to Shelby Farms

Shelby County Commissioners approved plans to make big changes to Shelby Farms.

Thursday, Memphis businessman Pitt Hyde and his wife announced plans to donate $20 million to make the plans happen.

That $20 million dollars is the biggest single donation ever for the Hyde Family Foundation.

Pitt Hyde and his wife Barbara hope their gift will become a great boost to efforts to turn Shelby Farms into the largest urban park in the country.   

New construction and expansions will turn the 4,500 acre site into 12 distinctive landscape areas. Patriot Lake will also be larger. Biking, hiking, pedestrian and horseback riding trails are part of the plans, too.

Huge garden areas are being designed at the site that will enable people to grow food and the Hydes say a nature conservancy and research area will help make Shelby Farms a model for urban parks of the future.   

"In fact the thing that makes Barbara and I so enthusiastic about this project is that it has something for everyone in our community no matter what your interest level whether its jogging biking or picnicking. You've got you know there's going to be great areas in this park to experience nature in whatever form you want to do it," Pitt Hyde said.

"Well our hope now is that with the 20 million challenge grant  that this will motivate other people and corporations and ah people from 5-dollars gifts to 5-million dollar gifts to step forward and add to the support so that we can get it matched get phase one going," Barbara Hyde said.

Park officials hope to raise an additional $20 million dollars to match the Hyde grant by December.

Get ready to see windmills and other alternative energy research at the park too. Another conservation effort will involve the planting of one million trees at shelby farms.

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