Skip links

Speak Up Results #1: Share the Love

Last fall, we asked you to give us your feedback on Overton Park–what’s great about it, what’s not-so-great, and what you think the priorities should be for the future. The second Speak Up Survey brought us 344 fantastic, thoughtful responses, and we’d like to share them with you.

You can view a summary of the responses here. But we’d like to go a little deeper, so for the next few days, we’re going to share some of the comments and observations in greater detail. Today, we’re sharing the basic demographic data and some of the answers to the question, “What do you love about Overton Park?”

Speak Up 2013 demographic data

When the original Speak Up survey was conducted in 2011, the #1 answer to “What do you love about Overton Park?” was the Levitt Shell, so it was no surprise to see it top the list once again. But we were thrilled to see that Overton Bark (built in 2012) and Rainbow Lake Playground (renovated in 2013) both cracked the top five. Since those projects were undertaken in direct response to answers to the 2011 survey, it’s great to see that they’re living up to expectations.

Speak Up 2013 results

We loved going through these answers, so we’ll share a few with you here.

The playground is the best in the Memphis area.  Shell concerts have something for everyone. The Old Forest is a treasure, and the arts are an important part of the park.  The zoo is world-class and a great draw to the park. I like the presence of the food trucks, too.”

I love that the park is right in the middle of the city. I love the old-growth forest and the dog park. I love walking across the field in front of rainbow Lake with people congregated and enjoying themselves. It gives a sense of community.”

Heart treeDeep forest, cool quiet, the changing seasons, nature, big trees, small animals, birds, peacefulness, people quiet and traffic muffled and far-off. Vistas both within the forest and across the Greensward.    I love the Bark – peaceful gatherings, funny lovely dogs and people, lots of room to move away from others when necessary, nice shade.”

I like that it feels safe, and that there are a multitude of things to do in the park, and that at 28 I still enjoy all of them. I also like the greenery and the landscape. It’s a well maintained place and feels clean enough to just lay down anywhere. And I like that it’s been there all my life and I can count on it being there in the future.”

It’s a wonderful place for children to learn about our local nature. I love running thru at any season. It has wonderful trails to explore. Been going to the park since I was a teen, it is a great part of my family and it holds so many memories, from my first kiss to learning to appreciate the seasons thru my children’s eyes. I love the tall trees and the history.”

Rainbow Lake PlaygroundI am in love with the Levitt Shell.  It is seriously the best family entertainment in Memphis.  My daughter who is 4 has grown up there.  We go with our friends and everyone’s kiddos and have a blast almost every night that music is offered.  I also am truly amazed with the new playground.  It is so awesome! My daughter loves it and it has become a fun new place to meet up with friends for playdates.  I only wish now that it was bigger.  It is so popular that it is almost always packed and full of folks.  And I guess that’s a really good problem to have!”

I love seeing people from all over Memphis–young and old, black and white–spending time enjoying nature. I believe that Overton Park is the best representation of the Memphis community.”

“Witnessing the resurgence of one of America’s great and historic urban parks has been one of the amazing things about my time living near the park.  It offers something for almost everyone in the community.  My wife and I use it for jogging and walking our pets primarily but the fact that social events are afforded through the picnic areas, a dog park is offered, sports are played on the greensward and cultural events are available through the Brooks, Shell and Zoo make it somewhere that everyone in the Memphis community can find something to enjoy.”

I love to run the loops! I love the playground too. I love the fact that the park is on the same property as a music venue (shell), an art school, and a zoo!! Where else could you find this??”

I love the diverse patronage and openness to activities. I can bring my guitar and practice in a beautiful surrounding. The trails are fun for photography and jogging. Whether I want to throw a Frisbee, improve myself through an active lifestyle, or just socialize with my friends and others, I feel like Overton Park is a haven for fun times and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.”

Playing on the GreenswardI love that Overton Park offers a clean and serene environment for me and my loved ones to visit. I love that it’s a place where you can cook hotdogs in the summer and build snowmen in the winter. I love that I can walk through a forest that was there before Columbus, then visit an art gallery with Renaissance and Post Modern paintings, then visit the statues of Boss Crump and the memorials to our veterans. I love that it invites the entire city to come hear music on a stage that has been graced by Elvis and Johnny Cash. I love that it gives the families of our city somewhere safe and healthy to spend time together, to cook out, to have a picnic. I love that it gives the children of our city somewhere fun to play together–and that on any given day black, white, Latino, and Asian children can all be found playing together. I love that it gives people with dogs a place for each to play and socialize. I love that it gives people a place to exercise, to play football, baseball, soccer, golf, badminton, volleyball, or frisbee. I love that it gives people an open space to play drums or guitar–or whatever it is they play. I love that it gives artists a place to create–to draw, or paint, or write; that it gives daydreamers a place to lay in the sun and stare at the clouds. I love that it gives us a place to take a walk any time of the year. I just love that it’s there.