An eight-acre park touted as the green heart of Birmingham Eastside could cost the city council £12 million to build.
Cabinet regeneration member Ken Hardeman admitted being lost for words when he was given an estimate for turning a large part of Digbeth into finely-mown lawns, flower beds and woodland.
A large proportion of the expenditure involves assembling the land on which the park will be built, which is in the possession of a variety of owners.
Coun Hardeman (Con Brandwood) is confident of assembling a funding package for what would be the first new city centre park for more than 100 years.
He hopes that the final cost can be reduced from an initial figure of between £10 million and £12 million.
A bid to the National Lottery is planned in addition to an application for money from the European Social Fund and Advantage West Midlands.
Private sector developers will contribute £1 million towards the park in return for planning permission for a variety of Eastside projects.
Coun Hardeman added: "I know that £12 million sounds like a lot of money. I couldn't get my breath at first, but we are talking about an eightacre site.
"The estimate may be excessive but it is far better to over-estimate the cost of something than to be landed with a huge additional bill at a later stage because initial soundings were too cautious and you end up paying twice as much. It is a step-by-step operation."
He said it would be impossible to place a final figure on costs until the exact content of the park had been decided.
Architects hoping to win the contract to design the park have been told to think largely along traditional lines, but not to be afraid to dabble with selective modernist features.
The city council cabinet will approve a design brief next month.
Coun Hardeman, who is the chairman of a steering group charged with delivering the park by 2008, plans to hold a design competition with a short-list of six architects being paid £5,000 each to come up with proposals. The winning firm will get the right to design the park.
Coun Hardeman said the cabinet was unanimous in the view that the park should be largely traditional. A previous suggestion of a Japanese design has been rejected.
He added: "The message is that we mean business. The park has been talked about for a long time but we have identified the funding and it is actually going to happen now.
"There is a united view that we want to see it as green and traditional. However, we want to see a bit of imagination around what could be a visitor attraction to the city.
"There will be one or two features that will be unique and special but will not detract from the bigger picture which is a park for the people of Birmingham to use.
"We don't want several acres of gimmicks but if we can add to the attractiveness then that will bring people into Birmingham. Certain areas of the park could be specific to a theme. It is not just going to be the whole area grassed over."
The park, an eight-acre green spine, will connect Park Street Gardens and Moor Street Station to the Digbeth Branch Canal.