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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The latest designs were unveiled at 3:30 Wednesday for the $60 million redevelopment of Tom Lee Park on Memphis’ riverfront.

Memphis River Parks Partnership says groundbreaking on the project is expected in fall 2020.

MRPP said five new buildings, an open-air canopy, 250,000 square feet of open space and “a series of
immersive landscape environments” are part of the updated plans for Tom Lee Park. More trees, paths, an elevated walkway through a forest canopy and several pavilions that house cafes are planned.

“Memphians are going to be thrilled with what’s coming to their riverfront,” said Carol Coletta, president and CEO of Memphis River Parks Partnership, in a statement. “This work is already winning national awards and it will produce a riverfront we’ll all be proud of for generations to come.”

Below: Renderings by Studio Gang for Tom Lee Park improvements, courtesy MRPP

The first concept for riverfront improvements was drawn up by Chicago architecture firm Studio Gang in 2017. A concept for the 30-acre Tom Lee Park, the largest part of the riverfront, was released in February 2019.

That plan received criticism from Memphis in May organizers, who feared that the hills and trees in the plan would force signature events like the Beale Street Music Festival and barbecue cooking championship to find a new home. The two sides reached an agreement late last year that the design would accommodate MIM’s needs, allowing the festival to remain in the park.

Memphis in May says its events will still be held in the park this year and next.

Riverside Drive was also slated to be slimmed down to two lanes, although that proposal was dropped.

Half of the project’s $60 million budget comes from state and federal sources. Of the other half, MRPP said $10 million has been contributed by the Hyde Family Foundation.