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Shelby Farms begins work on Patriot Lake expansion

Earth movers and bison share the pasture at Shelby Farms Park

Many of the more than one million visitors to Shelby Farms Park every year come for bucolic Patriot Lake, located just north of Walnut Grove Road. Whether jogging the length of its 1.5-mile asphalt track, paddle boating, canoeing, fishing or simply sitting nearby to catch a breeze on a spring day, it is a gateway to the many amenities available over the rest of the 4,500 acres.
 
The Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, in the midst of its $70 million, Phase One renovation of the park, is set to expand the lake from 50 acres to more than 80 acres, creating what is being called the "Heart of the Park."
 
The Conservancy has pulled a $25 million permit to begin expansion of the lake, with Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC set to complete the work.
 
In addition to a new visitor center nearby, the newly designed central element to the park will feature an amphitheatre, restaurant, retreat center and picnic pavilion. Pathways will connect the lake with other Phase One offerings such as the Shelby Farms Greenline and Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge, both completed in 2010; and the Woodland Discovery Playground, opened the following year. Nearly 6,000 trees will be planted around the lake.
 
Shelby County recently won a $440,000 state grant for improvements necessary to extend the Greenline 4.5 miles to the east, ending at the old train depot in Cordova. The money will go toward special traffic signals, lane striping and pedestrian countdown timers where the Greenline is to cross busy Germantown Parkway. Construction should take about a year and, once completed, will see the dedicated bikeway stretch for 11 miles from Tillman Street in the Binghampton neighborhood to Cordova.
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