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Tom Lee Park receives $800K grant for new trails

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:03 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Efforts to transform Tom Lee park in Memphis are getting some extra financial help.

“For too long we’ve turned our backs on the river fronts and we have changed that in about five or six years’ time,” COO of the City of Memphis Dough McGowen said.

Memphis Officials and Memphis River Parks Partnership leaders gathered at Beale Street Landing Wednesday to accept a check for $800,000 from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The grant will go toward connecting trails being added to Tom Lee Park, just one portion of the river front currently undergoing renovation.

“Every direction you look from right here you can see progress happening on the Memphis riverfront,” Director of external affairs for the Memphis River Parks Partnership George Abbott said.

The Cobblestone landing is being restored.

“To look somewhat like they did originally. It’s the only intact cobblestone landing in the U.S,” Abbott said.

Work is also being done on the Cutbank Bluff to create an ADA compliant entrance into Tom Lee Park.

Along with new trails, Tom Lee Park will have varied topography and new structures including a large canopy.

“It’s a lot! and then you add construction on the river front with all of the construction happening downtown and there is a huge amount of coordination to be done,” Abbott said.

Undergoing such massive construction projects during a global pandemic presents its challenges.

“Right now, there’s a shortage in a lot of different materials. So, it’s really staying ahead, making sure you can get the right materials,” Project Manager of Montgomery Martin Contractors Adam Moore said.

MMC has managed to keep pace of the combined $60 million overhaul.

The Cutbank bluff is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022. Tom Lee Park and the Cobblestone Landing are set to be completed by 2023, when Memphis in May will return to the park.

“To be able to work on a project impacts Memphis the way this does - it’s just been great,” Moore said.

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