MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- With a lot of cheers and applause, Shelby Farms Park held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark its formal re-opening.
Some said this beloved park and its changes now fulfill a promise to make it even more of a world-class landmark for Memphis.
Barbara Hyde is a board member of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, a nonprofit group managing the park.
"What is that promise? To give rise to a great 21st Century park that visually, tangibly reflects the revitalized Memphis," Hyde said.
City, county and state leaders, along with Shelby Farms Board members, unveiled the $52 million Heart of the Park improvements.
"Whether you are a biker, hiker, fisherman, runner, farmer or one who just feeds the ducks, there's something for everyone here," Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said.
The centerpiece of the park's master plan was to transform the existing lake landscape into a new area of the park.
"Improving the lake's life, we also are able to bring new amenities and create a centralized hub for community activity in the park while allowing the rest of the part to remain that urban retreat that you're looking for when you visit," Rebecca Dailey with the Shelby Farms Conservancy said.
The two-year construction project expanded the old Patriot Lake from 50 acres to 80 acres to what will now be Hyde Lake Park.
It will house the visitor center, a lakefront stage, boathouse, pavilions, and a landscaped walkway just to name a few.
"I windsurf on the lake. We have missed it greatly, but we're excited the lake has been expanded from 50 acres to 80 acres and all of the new improvements. I'm really excited about what they've done to Shelby Farms," said park visitor Greg Stablein.
Many said what has been done to Shelby Farms is not just an enhancement for park visitors today, but for generations to come.
"Looking around at this amazing landscape and gorgeous lake, I'm blown away. In many ways, it doesn't feel like Memphis, but in so many ways it's so Memphis. It's all about the Memphis we love that we celebrate on '901' Day, and it's all about the future potential and delivering to the people," Hyde said.