PARKSIDE DEVELOPMENT + TIF | June 18, 2018
Shelby Farms Park’s positive impact on the communities beyond its borders has always been an important part of our big vision for the world’s next great 21st century park.
We believe that the Parkside Development has the potential to complement the Park’s mission while enhancing the communities north of the Park, if it’s designed, built and operated well.
While we have no financial stake in the project, we believe that a public park has a big responsibility to its citizens. Over the years, we’ve carefully studied the positive impacts of smart development near major urban parks. A good design, thoughtfully planned, can and should lift neighborhoods. We’ve asked to review the project as designs come together to help make sure it has a positive effect on the Park and its visitors.
We appreciate the Parkside Development design approach so far, and we're especially pleased with the focus on a walkable and bikeable project. The developers have put together a reputable team, and they’ve made several presentations to us. One of our biggest concerns is the impact this development will have on the already challenging traffic problem in and around the Park.
The developer is seeking Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the project, and has proposed that a portion of the funds generated through that program be dedicated to Shelby Farms Parkway and other short term traffic improvements in the area.
Park advocates and community members helped negotiate a context-sensitive design for the Shelby Farms Parkway years ago that will move commuter traffic out of the heart of the park and to the west edge of the site, reclaiming the land between for public park use. The Parkway will be a four-lane, curvy landscaped road with bike and pedestrian trails, tunnels and a bridge allowing cyclists and pedestrians to enter and navigate the park without crossing traffic. We believe the design will make the park safer and more enjoyable for visitors on foot, on bikes and in cars. You can see the design and 3D model video here.
The TIF proposal would dedicate funding for 20% of the total cost of the Parkway, which would otherwise be paid by the City of Memphis. The TIF would also cover short term traffic improvements like turn lanes and signal timing that would help until the Parkway is built.
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