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Overton Park fundraising in home stretch as group plans Wednesday event

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Zoo and Overton Park Conservancy agreed to compromise over a parking debate involving the Greensward space. Each entity has pledged to raise $1 million in an act of good faith by June 11.

Zoo officials announced they'd fulfilled the requirement in recent weeks.

But the Conservancy, which does not benefit from admission tickets like the zoo, is still working toward the goal.

The compromise will preserve the controversial Greensward land while also adding more than 400 parking spaces, according to city Councilman Worth Morgan.

"There’s been a lot of noise on this issue, but people who care about the park and zoo and have stepped up in a big way on both sides,” Morgan said.

“As community groups it’s important to us if we can finally put to rest the issue of parking. We need to be a part of this and we need to help," said Mary Wilder with the Overton Park Alliance.

Park officials said they’d raised about $820,000 so far. They’re in the home stretch to reach $1 million.

“It’s this commitment of our city to the park that will put us over the finish line by June 11, and then we can finally begin the work of restoring the Greensward to Overton Park's visitors,” OPC officials said in a statement released to WREG.

Wilder hoped a fundraiser on Wednesday would help. Local musicians Van Duren and Vicki Loveland are performing. There will be food and drinks, including beer and wine, available for purchase. The outdoor concert is free, but organizers request a donation.

After June 11, each group will still owe about $500,000 by October to complete the project.