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drainOverton Park survives and thrives based on the support of the people who love it. At Overton Park Conservancy, we’re well aware that people giving their time, effort, and dollars to the park are doing so because this place means so much to them. We’ve been the beneficiary of so much generosity lately that we feel some big thanks are in order.

International Paper Volunteers
Last week, dozens of members of International Paper’s finance team came to the park and offered major assistance on two projects. One team got muddy and relocated a drain pipe in Overton Bark to help with some of the water pooling that’s been happening in the large-dog side. The other team went deep into the Old Forest to remove invasive species, primarily a patch of privet that’s been trying to re-establish itself. We are so grateful for this group’s enthusiasm and for their gift of time!

GiveCamp MemphisGiveCamp Memphis
Each year, Memphis’ developer community comes together and donates an entire weekend of service to local non-profits, building applications and websites that organizations would otherwise pay thousands of dollars to have built. We were thrilled to be chosen for this year’s GiveCamp, and after just 72 hours, we have an incredible new system that will help us manage the park’s rental program much more efficiently. It will save us a huge amount of time and allow us to offer great customer service to anyone wishing to hold a special event or gathering at the park.

We can’t recommend GiveCamp highly enough; these talented developers spend their entire weeks coding, and then voluntarily spend this weekend doing the same work, absolutely free, for the local non-profit community. If you work for a local charity and there’s a tech project that would make your life easier but you don’t have the budget to create it, you’re in luck: applications for 2017 are already open!

Planning meetingPlanning Partners
Hundreds of you came out over the past few weeks to our two public meetings around parking and traffic in the park, and hundreds more took the online survey to provide information to the planning team. We’d like to extend a huge thanks to each of you who has taken the time to engage in this process. We’re also so grateful to the team from Looney Ricks Kiss, Alta Planning + Design, and Kimley-Horn and Associates for their hard work and research. And a big thanks to both the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and First Baptist Church – Broad for being gracious hosts for the meetings.

Sunshine paverSunshine
Finally, we wanted to acknowledge the passing of Sunshine Snyder, whose courage and dedication to Overton Park was instrumental in keeping it whole. In a very charged political climate, Sunshine was brave enough to put her name on the lawsuit that challenged the construction of I-40 through the heart of the park. When the 10 Parks That Changed America special airs in April, we’ll all know that the work of Sunshine and the original members of Citizens to Preserve Overton Park was crucial in protecting parkland all over the country. We’re so grateful to her for not just her work on behalf of the park, but the generous spirit and love for life that touched all who were lucky enough to know her. At the entrance to the Bike Gate plaza, which sits on the location where I-40 would have entered the park, there’s a paver that reads simply, “Sunshine.” Every time we pass this marker, we feel grateful for everything she gave the park.