MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Zoo and the Overton Park Conservancy have signed an agreement to deal with ongoing parking issues, eventually ending parking on the Greensward.
Monday, Zoo CEO and President Matt Thompson and Board Chairman Jerry Shore met with Conservancy Executive Director Tina Sullivan and Board Member Mary Wilder at Memphis City Hall. The zoo said in a news release the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding of an ongoing parking agreement.
According to the zoo, the new plan would move the Zoo’s current maintenance area to the park’s southeast corner, using existing buildings in the northern portion of what is currently the City’s General Services Area. Then the zoo’s existing maintenance area along N. Parkway would be converted into parking. The zoo said the plan would add 300 spaces which the zoo needs, without using a portion of the Greensward.
Once the plan is implemented, the zoo said the Greensward will be permanently closed to overflow parking.
The release said the conservancy is considering the idea of creating a walking path around the perimeter of the Greensward to make the space more accessible. The Park will also consider installing some landscaping to serve as a visual barrier between the Greensward and zoo parking lots.
The zoo said the plan restores 17 acres of parkland that has been inaccessible for decades.