Park-Wide Planning Effort
In 2018, Overton Park Conservancy and the City of Memphis launched the first comprehensive planning process for the park in more than 30 years, with the goal of answering three major questions:
- How can we make the park equitable for all Memphians?
- How can we honor the historic and present uses of the park while anticipating the future needs of our community?
- What would make Overton Park financially sustainable?
The subjects of the plan fall under two categories: physical and operational. Areas where we expect to see physical changes include:
- The 13 acres at the southeast corner of the park that have been used as a City of Memphis vehicle maintenance facility for decades
- The picnic area and playground on the East Parkway side of the park
- Park access points, especially those used by cyclists, pedestrians, and people in wheelchairs
The Conservancy’s operational needs include:
- Developing a business plan that identifies the costs of physical improvement projects and day-to-day maintenance, as well as revenue opportunities
- Ensuring complete collaboration with our park partner institutions, including the new tenants for Rust Hall and the Brooks Museum’s buildings, once they’ve been identified
As we have Park Conversations in the community, we’ll be asking you for your feedback on the park. To stay up-to-date on the schedule and progress of the plan, follow the Park Conversations & Planning category on our blog.
After three decades of overflow parking, work to permanently return the Overton Park Greensward to community use began in summer 2019.
Using a phased approach that you can see here, Montgomery Martin Contractors began by adding capacity to the Zoo’s Prentiss Place lot. This portion was completed in 2019. Work on the main lot adjacent to the Greensward has been paused as the City, Zoo, and Conservancy evaluate alternative, less-intrusive options.
During construction, there will likely be a larger-than-usual impact to the public use of the Greensward, as the closure of the main Zoo lot will create more overflow parking. Following the completion of construction, remediation work will begin to repair the Greensward and get it ready for its permanent return to public gathering space.
Entrances and Access
Overton Park Conservancy is working with the City of Memphis to continuously improve access to the park for cyclists and pedestrians. Completed projects include the repair of sidewalks along North Parkway, the addition of a new sidewalk on Poplar Avenue between Tucker St. and Veterans Plaza Drive, and the creation of a bicycle trail connecting the Hampline to the Old Forest trails.
Upcoming projects include improving the park entrance at Cooper Street by adding a small landing area for bikes and pedestrians and creating a new path to connect with the park’s trail system.