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Improvements coming soon to the City of Florence’s McFarland Park

June 23, 2023 · Projects

Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC) recently partnered with the City of Florence to develop a master plan for McFarland Park with a goal of providing better access to a greater number of amenities in the largely under-utilized park. During the year-long master planning process that included multiple stakeholder meetings, citizen surveys and vast amounts of community feedback, a plan was developed to provide a roadmap for future improvements to the park.

McFarland Park has a long-standing history in Florence. The park has been enjoyed by citizens for centuries and has significant Native American and natural history. Located along the Tennessee River, the park sits on 350 acres with 2.75 miles of shoreline. It serves the city, metro and region, making it a huge economic driver for the community. The park also features a large marina giving the community easy access to the Tennessee River. McFarland Park is also a hub for festivals like Shoals Fest, bringing citizens and tourists to the town of Florence. Needless to say, the park has potential to become a thriving community center for new and existing businesses as well as citizens and tourists.

“McFarland Park is a big part of the Florence community, so we wanted to make sure its citizens were involved in the planning process”, said Bryan King, GMC’s lead planner on the project. With more than 2,000 citizens participating in the survey process, the community’s concerns are being heard loud and clear. King says, “The main goal for the park was to design the park based on the type of future the citizens want to see in the park.” This type of approach promotes community buy-in and will allow the park to become a large driver for economic growth for the region.

From the master planning process, GMC helped create a phased plan for park improvements focusing on four main areas of the park: the Backcountry, the Riverfront, the Fields and the Marina. Each of these areas will have activities that align with their location. For example, the Backcountry will feature campsites, bird watching towers and a kayak launch. The goal of these areas and phases is to create a long-term improvement vision based on the citizens’ wants and needs, as well as develop a realistic and flexible roadmap for specific park improvements.

GMC’s team has begun design of construction documents for phase one of the McFarland Park master plan. This phase will consist of a new eastern fishing pier, much needed repairs and upgrades to the existing RV Park, a main drive re-alignment and entry improvements, a riverwalk trail, new riverwalk facilities, RV park expansion and improvements, festival grounds expansion and parking and walking/biking trails throughout the park. Construction on phase one is slated to begin next year. Future phases will be completed as funding becomes available.