Thursday, September 12, 2013

Park or Parking Lot?

In the 5 months since we last posted (sorry!), Overton Park has seen a lot of movement towards getting cars off the Greensward. The Overton Park Conservancy has commissioned a parking study for Overton Park, the Memphis Zoo has hired A2H Engineers for a parking garage study, influential Memphians have envisioned integrated transportation linking the entire Cooper corridor, and a City Councilperson has spoken out against parking on the Greensward.  There's no doubt that there's now a strong consensus to get the cars off the Greensward permanently and to find the Park, and the Zoo in particular, a modern way to park their visitors' cars.

This is a wonderfully huge step forward the whole area is taking, but to finally make it happen, we'll have to find the money to fund the parking solution.  That's why we're going to ask our supporters to start lobbying our elected leaders.

So at this Saturday's Cooper-Young Festival, CPOP will be passing out postcards for you to sign with a simple message:  We want cars off our Greensward.

Come see us between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. at booth E-16 in the parking lot between the Beauty Shop and First Congo.

Besides the postcards, we will also be selling this new t-shirt, which is the throwback design from the original Citizens to Preserve Overton Park but with the updated message, "Overton Park Forever" and updated colors of pink and brown.

And for the first time, we will accept credit cards!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

More Park!

Overton Park jammed during the week of Spring Break 2013.

Kids had a blast at the Brooks Chalk Art Festival, golfers played the course, dogs and dog lovers socialized at Overton Bark, picnickers spread across the Greensward and the East Parkway picnic area, hikers got a preview of Spring in the Old Forest, and animal lovers -- lots of them -- took their families to the Memphis Zoo.

Traffic was backed up to East Parkway waiting to turn into the Park at Tucker.  People with small children walked from parking spaces near Poplar all the way to the Zoo gates.  Park streets were packed with cars, driven and parked, legal and illegally.  And the Greensward was filled with cars.

There's no doubt that the investments and attention that the Overton Park Conservancy has made in the past year have been a huge success.  Layer those on top of the work of the park institutions -- the Levitt Shell, the Memphis College of Art, the Brooks, the golf course and the Zoo -- over the decades and the park is an ever-more powerful magnet for Memphis and the region.  The rumored arrival of the Eggleston Museum and relocation of the City's maintenance facility would make it even stronger.  And that attraction is pulling the Park closer to Parking Lot.

The Park needs a permanent and Overton-Park-quality fix for its parking needs.  The Greensward will no longer do as a parking pit.  When used as a surface parking lot in the middle of a public greenspace, it's intrusive, destructive, butt-ugly and unworthy of the Park.

The continued success of the Zoo and the Park requires a real solution that puts people first.

It's time to free the Greensward and tame the gridlock.

The Citizens to Preserve Overton Park recommend this course of action:
  • 2013:  All money taken in by the Memphis Zoo for parking on the Greensward should be devoted to creating a permanent parking solution for the Park as a whole.  The OPC, the Zoo and all park-loving citizens should vigorously lobby both the City and private institutions to find the money and space for a permanent parking fix.
  • 2014:  All overflow parking from all Park institutions should be directed to nearby locations such as the new Overton Square parking garage, Snowden School parking lot, Crosstown Arts parking, etc., with shuttles connecting them to the Park.  All parking on the Greensward will stop.  
  • 2015 and beyond:  The Park and Zoo should either build a parking garage in the Zoo maintenance area to handle the Zoo's huge demand, or devise a permanent shuttling alternative.  A parking garage is a very expensive solution that the City may have trouble funding after the Overton Square garage.  The Chalk Art Festival at the Brooks Museum on the Thursday of Spring Break used a shuttle supplied by the OPC and Premier Transportation to bring ~100 visitors to the park from Crosstown Arts.  Overton Square's new parking garage would be an excellent shuttle destination for the Zoo and other Park institutions and events.
Overton Park needs your help to make this happen.  In the next few days, we will let you know how you can help.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Old Forest Jamboree 2013!

3-5 pm
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Hi Tone Cafe, 1913 Poplar

It's time once again for the Old Forest Jamboree! This is also our final farewell to the fabulous Hi-Tone Cafe for giving unlimited love to the Old Forest and CPOP from the very beginning and a thank-you to the fabulous Jonathan Kiersky. 

Bring your sweethearts and your dancing shoes, so we can blow the doors off with the tubarific Mighty Souls Brass Band and the incredible unstoppable All-Star Lorax Posse.

$10 donation benefits CPOP; kids get in free as always. Grownups each get two free Ghost River beers and the Rock'n Dough Pizza truck will feed everyone for free until they run out of cheese.