Architects Broadway Malyan, FoRM Associates and planning adviser Gifford have been appointed to take forward proposals for Irwell City Park, an 8km stretch of the River Irwell in Salford and Manchester.
A grant of £1.1m for the design stage was awarded in November by the North West Development Agency.
The estimated cost of building the park is £40m. An earlier bid for lottery funding failed.
The design team will spend 12 months producing detailed plans to deliver the project, which includes cycle and pedestrian routes, three public spaces and footbridges to enhance links across the river.
"The river Irwell has been a constant symbol of the fortunes of Manchester," said Eddy Fox, associate in Broadway Malyan's Manchester office. "Its continuing state of dereliction and under use after two decades of progressive regeneration reflects the incomplete success of Greater Manchester's reinstatement as a great European city. The new linear waterside park will turn the tide on decades of neglect and heal the physical severance between Salford, Manchester and Trafford, during which, instead of the garden fence over which they talk to each other, the river has become the back wall which separates them."
The area to be transformed covers 690 acres running from Media City UK in Salford Quays to Cathedral Square in Manchester city centre.
Irwell City Park is being brought together through a partnership of Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company, Salford City Council, Manchester City Council, Trafford Metropolitan Council, the NWDA and private sector partners.
The project is due for completion in 2013.
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