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City Council approves parking solution for Overton Park

Cornhole on the GreenswardYesterday Memphis City Council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing a solution to end overflow parking on the Greensward. This solution, which we outlined earlier this week, represents a consensus between Overton Park Conservancy, the Memphis Zoo, and the City of Memphis, and presents an achievable path forward for the park and its attractions.

In rescinding the earlier March 1 resolution, yesterday’s action reaffirms that the Greensward is part of the Conservancy’s managed area. While the Zoo will still use a portion of the Greensward during the construction period, it will soon be open and available for everyone to enjoy every single day–a situation that hasn’t been true for almost 30 years.

In the days ahead, we’ll begin working out details, including designs, timelines, and costs, and we look forward to sharing that information with you. Although the resolution lists January 2019 as a deadline for completion, we will strongly pursue a shorter timeframe. After City of Memphis engineers have created design documents, we’ll have a clearer picture of the funds needed to complete this project. The faster the Zoo and the Conservancy can raise those funds, the sooner we can get to work. Now that the Conservancy, the Zoo, and the City are all pursuing the same goal, we’re confident our progress can be swift.

Our preliminary conversations with City engineers have given us confidence that the reconfiguration of the Zoo’s main lot will happen with minimal incursion into the Greensward. The 415 new spaces will be divided among multiple lots, giving engineers the opportunity to creatively design an efficient system.

We want to thank everyone who has been instrumental in achieving consensus: Mayor Jim Strickland and his team, Councilman Bill Morrison and his colleagues on City Council, Richard Smith, and our partners at the Memphis Zoo. We also owe a tremendous thanks to YOU, the visitors and supporters of Overton Park. Your input allowed us to develop the report that formed the basis for this solution. You have supported us through this issue as well as the many other tasks that go into managing a world-class park. We’re proud to live in a community that understands the value of free green space accessible to all.

We look forward to putting this plan into place, and we hope to have your continued support. Help us carry the ball across the finish line as quickly as possible, and please consider making a gift today.

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