Memphis River Parks Partnership unveils new renderings for redesigned Tom Lee Park

Memphis River Parks Partnership unveils new renderings for redesigned Tom Lee Park

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis River Parks Partnership on Wednesday released the final concept for the resigned Tom Lee Park.

MRRP says the current design meets or exceeds all constraints generated through a mediation process with Memphis in May organizers.

MIM announced Tuesday the 2021 festival will remain in Tom Lee Park instead of relocating for construction as previously announced.

MRRP says the new design, developed by Studio Gang and SCAPE, illustrates the plan for the park to reconnect Memphis with the Mississippi River by creating new spaces, pathways and immersive ecological experiences in the park itself.

The plan improves entrance points along and across Riverside Drive and adds five new pavilions and outdoor spaces ranging in scale from intimate areas to expansive open lawns.

MRRP says the design supports a range of activities with the backdrop of the Mighty Mississippi.

“For 100 years we’ve dreamed of a riverfront whose majesty was a match for the river it frames,” said Carol Colleta, president and CEO of MRRP, in a statement. “Today we finally have the opportunity to make the most of our position at the widest and wildest point on the Mississippi River. Memphians are going to be thrilled with what’s coming to their riverfront. This work is already winning national awards and it will produce a riverfront we’ll all be proud of for generations to come.”

The new park will be comprised of four primary zones from north to south.

  • The Civic Gateway at the north end of the park welcomes visitors from Beale Street and Vance Park with:
    • Cutbank Bluff, a redefined bluff entrance and access point from Vance Park;
    • a new entry plaza with shade trees and water feature; and
    • landscape improvements at Beale Street Landing.
  • The Active Core features areas and structures for active and flexible use, including:
    • An open, 20,000-square-foot Civic Canopy that offers a covered space for recreation and events;
    • three Point Bar Pavilions house a small cafe with porches overlooking the river, equipment storage and public facilities;
    • open, expansive laws featuring a signature Play Area with varying topography and unique playscapes; and
    • centrally located River Groves provide shaded areas for people to sit and enjoy views of the river or activities below the Civic Canopy.
  • The Community Batture is a forested area situated on higher ground, providing a different perspective of the river within the park and places for families to gather and barbecue. New spaces include:
    • Meditative Paths that weave through the forest to create intimate gathering spaces;
    • a Peace Walk that creates a new landscape that integrates the Tom Lee Memorial into sits surroundings;
    • a Civic Glade that offers a sunny area in the restored riparian forest for smaller-scale gatherings, activities or events; and
    • two Point Bar Pavilions to house visitor amenities and park utilities.
  • Habitat Terraces at the southern end of the park offer a more intimate experience of the natural landscape and include:
    • A Canopy Walk that connects the park to the city by means of an elevated path through the biodiverse forest of Tom Lee Park’s southern zone; and
    • Immersive Platforms that offer park-goers a quiet acoustic environment to experience the sights and sounds of the Mississippi River.

Groundbreaking on the project is expected within the year.

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