This weekend promises sunshine, sports, and socializing at Overton Park. On Saturday alone, the park will host Literacy Mid-South’s fourth annual Reading Flash Mob, a rugby match that pits Memphis’ Dry Gulch Renegades against the visiting Gadsden Pioneers, and Walk MS at Rainbow Lake Pavilion.
It’s the beginning of what will be a very busy spring in the park. On May 7 alone, visitors to the park will be able to attend the Latino Memphis Festival on the Greensward, the Café du Memphis fundraiser at East Parkway Pavilion, and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art’s Party for the Century. That’s in addition to the newly renovated Levitt Shell’s upcoming Free Music Concert Series, the opening of the Memphis Zoo’s Zambezi River Hippo Camp, and Overton Park Conservancy’s own Day of Merrymaking family festival on June 4. (Visit our Event Calendar for a full list of park happenings.)
We recognize that all of these events are coming at a time when the park is under great scrutiny. It’s clear that Overton Park and its institutions are thriving, but we’re also experiencing growing pains. Demand for parking continues to outstrip available space, and the historic Greensward is absorbing many of those cars. As the park continues to achieve unprecedented levels of visitorship, it’s more important than ever that we find a long-term solution to this issue.
To that end, the Conservancy spearheaded and funded a parking and mobility plan, with recommendations to be released in April. We are determined to find better solutions than parking on the Greensward.
We believe that mediation, in conjunction with the parking plan, is the best possible way to achieve consensus around practical solutions. Our team has been actively participating in multiple sessions over the past several weeks, and we will continue to do so. We do not have a concrete timetable for the end of the mediation process, but as it continues, we urge citizens to express their opinions about this issue in a way that is respectful of all parties.
We’re asking that as visitors come to the park this weekend, please avoid direct conflict with cars. We encourage you to gather in the park, have fun, and enjoy the beautiful weather. But for your safety, we would ask that you please avoid blocking or impeding vehicles.
Our goal is for all visitors to the park and its cultural institutions to feel safe and welcomed when they visit. We encourage all park supporters to share their love of this historic park in the most positive and affirming manner. Through your valuable input in our planning process, we are working to solve this problem in a creative way and give Memphis a park we can all be proud of.