The City of Memphis, with the agreement and support of partners Memphis Zoo and Overton Park Conservancy, announced today that it is pausing further work on the parking project at Overton Park to consider a promising new structured parking solution that could result in no or minimal lost green space.
The City will use the pause in construction to evaluate the efficacy and suitability of a modular parking deck that would add a second level to the newly expanded Prentiss Place lot, immediately west of the Zoo’s main parking lot. Early evaluation of the solution shows enough promise for the City, the Zoo, and the Conservancy to move forward with more diligence to verify that the project is feasible and within existing cost estimates. This solution could offer as many as 240 additional spaces on top of the Prentiss place lot, yielding 348 of the 415 required new spaces, and significantly decreasing the number of spaces needed in the Zoo’s main parking lot.
Overton Park Conservancy is grateful for the City’s willingness to explore newly available building technology in search of an outcome that preserves green space. Along with the City and the Zoo, we fully support pausing the project to pursue a solution that reduces or eliminates any expansion of the Zoo’s main lot into the Greensward.
Contracted crews have completed 90 percent of construction on the first phase of the original multi-phase plan, which was an addition of parking capacity at the Prentiss Place lot. The next phase would have involved the removal of dozens of trees, which is best done during the winter. City officials feel optimistic enough about the possibility of installing a modular deck to halt the existing plan and leave trees intact while its feasibility is determined.
Overflow Zoo parking will continue on the Greensward while the new solution is being pursued and implemented. Should the new solution ultimately not be determined as feasible, work on the original plan will resume next winter.