Saturday, April 19, 2008

Got to get ourselves back to the garden

Thanks to today's glorious weather, the Overton Park Greensward was fulfilling its intended purpose as... a parking lot for the Memphis Zoo?

Counting cars across the Greensward as I waited at the Rainbow Lake parking lot for my nature hikers to arrive, I spent some time wondering about the precise terms of the "accord" that Park Friends Inc. forged with the Memphis Zoo. PFI's website says:

PFI and the Zoo recently forged an accord allowing a finite level of overflow Zoo parking onto the Overton Park Greensward; this agreement allows park users to continue enjoying the Greensward with families, friends and pets.
Oh, really?

We headed off to begin a peaceful hike in the northeast corner of the Old Forest.

Check out the gigantic grape vine on this ancient tulip poplar! I'd be willing to bet good money that both of these plants are older than 150 years, which means they've been alive longer than Overton Park has existed.

Meanwhile, back at the Greensward...

But at least we didn't have to compete with cars in our recreational space, way back in the northeast corner of the Old Forest, right?


All of the "people gates" in Overton Park are closed to motorized traffic. But the Memphis Zoo is holding its annual plant sale this weekend, and the Memphis Zoo has keys to those gates.


Stacey Greenberg said...


Anonymous said...

So, is your goal to get the zoo to take down the fence around the debated 17 acres, as you state, or just to complain about everything the zoo does? The plant sale is beloved by the surrounding community (or at least most of it, since you seem to have a problem with it), and for years has been a great source for hard to find NATIVE plants, as well as neat annuals and tropicals. In your picture, looks like all the cars are neatly parked on paved areas. So your problem is... what? That that particular weekend you needed the entire width of that section of paved road to walk on? The zoo's plant sale is just once a year. Several times a year a 5K route goes right through that same area, making it difficult for other park visitors to access it - do you have a problem with them, too? On July 4th weekend, my boyfriend and I were walking my dog through the park, and had a hard time getting back to the car (parked by Rainbow Lake) because of a huge crowd of people hanging out, parking, and cruising along all the streets by the lake and the College of Art. That was inconvenient - where are your complaints about them?

It sounds like you're looking for any excuse to further demonize the zoo, one of the best things midtown (and Memphis) has to offer.

If your concern is those 17 acres, then stick to that.

rach said...

I agree with Kim. and the zoo does have to have permission from the city to park cars in the grassy area in Overton Park. They are not allowed to go past an invisible line and I know for a fact that the staff sticks to that line. They have to park cars there because so many people come to the zoo because it is a great place to visit. If you cant stand the thought of it expanding why do you spend your money to go so often?