Tom Lee Park construction is 40% finished

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:11 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The loftiest park expansion in Memphis history is on budget and on time.

Memphis River Parks Partnership provided downtown residents with an update on construction at Tom Lee Park on June 21.

Before a standing-room-only meeting at Beale Street Landing Tuesday night, members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and the South Main Association got the latest information about the $61 million Tom Lee Park renovation.

“We’re moving pretty quickly,” MRPP Director of External Affairs George Abbott told Action News 5, “and Tom Lee Park is going to be spectacular!”

When asked about parking, Abbott confirmed the remodeled park will have 68 parallel parking spaces along Riverside Drive, troubling to some who live downtown.

”That’s just not enough,” said Jerred Price with the Downtown Neighborhood Association, “the mediation agreement says parking shall be consistent with expected park usage. We know park usage is going to be going up, so let’s add parking, not take it away.”

Earlier in the day, Price took his concerns to the Memphis City Council.

In response, City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen told council members more parking will be available on the cobblestones which are also being rehabbed right now.

“At the immediate south end of that project,” McGowen said, “will be a provision for several hundred parking spaces immediately adjacent to the park that were not part of the plan for the park, but are absolutely part of the City’s plan to provide increased demand on the riverfront.”

And when the new Downtown Mobility Center being built next to the Orpheum is finished, that will provide nearly 1,000 additional parking spaces.

”One of the big investments,” said Abbott, “has been creating an ADA walkway up and down the bluff so you’re connected into Downtown Memphis.”

The Mobility Center, cobblestone project, and Tom Lee Park renovations are all expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.

“We’re 40 percent through construction, on track to open the park to the public next year, and really excited about it,” said Abbott.

He also announced that MRPP is close to raising the entire $61 million needed to fund the Tom Lee Park renovation. He said they are $1.5 million short of their goal.

Anyone who donates $1,000 or more will get their name on a wall at the park.

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