Shelby Farms asks commission $3M for park transformation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Shelby Farms asks commission $3M for park transformation

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (FOX13) - If you live in an urban part of Shelby County, odds are without MATA, a bicycle or a vehicle you may never have the chance to visit Shelby Farms Park.

That, was a major issue for Shelby County Commission budget committee members, as Shelby Farms Park Conservancy asked commissioners for $3 million for a major park transformation.

"One request I made was make sure that you provide a service for the inner city kids to get out there one way or another, and it hasn't happened," said Commissioner Sidney Chism.
 
Committee members expressed to Shelby Farms that promises to address a lack of public transportation to this park was made almost seven years ago.

"Our city kids have no opportunity to get out there, not because they don't want to go, because they're poor, they don't have the resources, and you have it," Commissioner Chism said.

Shelby Farms Conservancy Executive Director Laura Adams said the park's business is to provide a healthy environment, full of programs and recreation, not necessarily transportation, but it's working with MATA to allow everyone to enjoy the park.

"They have reached out and looked for funding specifically for this purpose, identified it, applied for a grant, and they're feeling very optimistic that the grant will be awarded," Adams said.

The committee passed the proposal, even as some commissioners still questioning if the largest urban park, which doesn't reach those in the urban community and is supported by public dollars, could make improvements without the help of the county.
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"I think it's appropriate that the county have a stake in this operation," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. "It's our property, it's our park, it's our kids, and we need to make an investment to ensure our kids have that opportunity."

Shelby Farms, which has plans to start construction in June, still needs the $3 million to be approved by the entire commission on Monday.

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