Tom Lee Park construction halfway completed

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Construction at Tom Lee Park is still underway but crews say they’re halfway finished.

Action News 5 toured the space in June and up until then, the progress could only be seen underground. Now, that progress is a lot more noticeable above ground where you can start to see some structures being built.

“Have the faith. You’re starting to see it all come out of the ground. You’re starting to see all the trees being planted. You’re starting to see steel for our structures going up. It’s really going to be a world class park next year,” Montgomery Martin Contractors Project manager Garrett Uithoven said,

The park, which stretches over a mile, will be split into four sections: the civic gateway, active core, community batture and habitat terraces.

All of those sections will serve as specific areas for people to use, like an outdoor classroom for Shelby County schools, a playground and restroom areas.

One of the issues previously brought up by people in the area was parking availability at the park.

Memphis River Parks Partnership says they want the park to be viewed like other spaces in the area.

“There’s not 20,000 parking spaces at the Forum for example. Downtown has a lot of parking spaces; we expect people to include the park as part of their journey downtown,” said George Abbott, MRPP Director of External Affairs.

Officials with the Memphis River Parks Partnership say they want the 61-million-dollar project to enhance the downtown Memphis experience.

“We have the best river in America. We want to have the best riverfront park and that’s what we’re building, so that’s exciting,” Abbott said.

There will be 70 parking spaces along the park. Park officials say they also encourage people to visit the park while they are downtown for other reasons and may be parked at a different location. Other additions to the park will be ADA accessibility, allowing those with and without disabilities to participate in much of the park’s new features.

Park officials say there’s also been work done on South Riverside Drive. The pedestrian walkways will be enhanced to allow safer and better access to the park from across the street.

While there’s no set opening date in sight, MRPP says they *can see Memphians enjoying the space by next summer. They are working on a schedule to help navigate the park by that time.

“The park is going to be open all of the time,” Abbott said. “There’s no gate that you close to stop people coming into the park. What we’re working on is what the schedule of staffing will be, which will be different in the winter than it is in the summer.”

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