Non-profit transforming south Memphis vacant lot into new community park

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Vacant lots at the corner of Mississippi Blvd and Gaither Street will soon be the home of the new Renaissance park.

Green space is desperately needed in 38106, one of the poorest zip codes in Memphis.

Lyndsey Pender with The Works Inc, told FOX13 that the hope with this new park is to encourage people to get outside more.

"We know that South Memphis has a higher rate of health disparities, we're hoping that this park, this space will encourage people who live in the area to get outside, to move more and participate in different sorts of exercise," said Pender.

Based on their research, Pender said there are about 1,900 people in this South Memphis zip code who don't live within walking distance of a park, which is usually less than half a mile.

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"It goes to show that having access to a park that’s in walking distance is really important and for the use of that public space, its really important for people to see it. It's important for people utilizing it and its important for residents to feel comfortable being able to walk out the door and to the park," said Pender.

Pender said The Works Inc. is using a $450,000 state grant to build the park in several phases.

"We’ll have a usable green space that will include a walking trail for people to use and as we go on to phase two and three we’ll add to the amenities like a playground and fitness equipment."

Construction will start next spring.

The Works Inc. will also offer various programs at Renaissance Park.

The nonprofit is hosting a community meeting this Thursday to get feedback from neighbors about programs and activities. The meeting will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the South Memphis Farmers Market located at 1400 Mississippi Blvd.