Overton Park Conservancy and the City of Memphis have begun work on the Overton Park master plan. Now that we’re beginning Park Conversations with the community, we want to introduce you to the team that’s working on the project.
Vishant Shah is a member of the Overton Park Conservancy board of directors and the chair of the master planning committee. When not guiding the planning process, Vishant works for the City of Memphis Fire Services. He has more than twenty years of experience working in public-private partnerships to create strategic, outcomes-focused change in a variety of sectors including electric power, cyber security and financial services. Four years ago, he and his wife relocated to Memphis. They have one son who enjoys Overton Park playgrounds and wildlife.
“It is important we create a roadmap to modify the park’s built environment using a bottom up process,” Vishant says. “This ensures Overton Park will be a premier destination for recreational and cultural purposes for years to come. I am a firm believer in using a creative, iterative process that places people at the heart of the process.” Speaking of the southwest corner of the park, which is soon to be vacated by the City of Memphis’ vehicle maintenance facility, he says, “The Master Plan will redevelop 13 acres in the park next year. Park visitors (old and new) will experience new amenities in reimagined spaces (indoors and outdoors) that currently include a Works Progress Administration-era (WPA) building and six greenhouses.”
Latanyua Taylor Robinson is the master plan project manager. She is active in the community engagement efforts and will assist with recruiting a team for design and implementation of the plan recommendations. Latanyua is the President of Latrobe LLC, a consulting firm focused on career readiness, commercial readiness, and community readiness for individuals, businesses, and institutions. She became actively involved in community work readiness programs to address employers’ needs for skilled workers by connecting companies with properly trained job seekers through the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce.
Latanyua earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arkansas and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. She lives in Marion with her husband James and their son, Quincy, a senior at Marion High School. “Community readiness involves activating all voices affecting the quality of life in our regional ecosystem,” Latanyua says.
Tina Sullivan is the Executive Director of Overton Park Conservancy and is overseeing the staff and board’s role in the planning process.
Tina has more than a decade of professional experience in parks management, including work at Shelby Farms Park Conservancy and the Port of San Diego Parks Department. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of Memphis. She is particularly focused on how the master plan will help underscore the importance of high-quality, free public gathering places in the core city. “Overton Park is the flagship park of the City of Memphis park system, and a hub in our emerging interconnected network of parks and trails. That’s why we’ll be reaching out to Memphians all across the city during this planning process, to better understand what makes Overton Park a destination, and what the broader community wants and needs in this park.”
Amanda McGillvery is a University of Memphis senior who will be creating artistic renderings of many of the concepts that come up during our conversations with the community. Look for her first rendering later this month.
Amanda says, “The warm culture of the Memphis community has driven my passion towards serving others. After volunteering with Memphis Heritage and Carpenter Art Garden, I’ve realized the importance of preserving regional culture and creating a sense of place for the community to thrive. Thankfully this passion was able to carry over into my formal education. As a result I’m dual majoring in Architecture and Interior Architecture at the University of Memphis and will be graduating in the Spring of 2019. I’m excited to work with the Planning Team this Fall Semester and look forward to being a piece to the Overton Park puzzle!”
Olivia Haslop is heading up our human-centered design and community engagement efforts. Olivia began her career as a graphic designer in the automotive industry before getting a Master’s in Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Now, she blends visual design with community engagement to place users at the heart of developing solutions that address complex challenges. Originally from Columbus, OH, Olivia has been in Memphis for two years now and has worked on various projects with clients like Memphis Public Libraries, ALSAC, and the Binghampton Development Corporation (BDC).
Olivia says, “I love being an output-oriented resource for nonprofits to do some of their most important work: community engagement. Working with Overton Park Conservancy is particularly exciting because where better to engage the Memphis community than right at the heart of the city at a beautiful public park? I’ve spent most of my time since moving to Memphis two years ago in the Binghampton neighborhood, so I’m particularly looking forward to exploring the ways the park connects with surrounding neighborhoods. As a gardening and birdwatching enthusiast and all-around outdoors-person, Overton Park Conservancy also aligns with several of my favorite pastimes.”