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Lawsuit seeks to declare City Council’s Greensward decision null and void

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. –A new lawsuit filed in court on Tuesday aims to overturn the Memphis City Council’s decision to give the Memphis Zoo control of the Overton Park Greensward for parking.

According to the lawsuit, the Memphis City Council was in violation of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act when it made the decision.

The act states “the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret.”

The City Council, the lawsuit claims, violated that measure when it failed to provide adequate notice to the public on when they would be discussing the issue, and by conducting private meetings the public was not allowed to attend.

In addition, the lawsuit said council members engaged in electronic communication which were also not made public.

With all this in mind, the lawsuit urged the court to find the City Council in violation of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, and declare all actions taken by the group during those meetings null and void.

On March 1, WREG reported the council gave the Memphis Zoo control of part of the Greensward area to use as overflow parking.

The vote was 11-1 and only happened after control of Rainbow Lake and the playground was removed from the agreement.

The council will also approve the removal of trees from the area.

Bill Morrison was not there to vote and Martavius Jones opposed the move.

Part of the grassy area is used an average of 65 days a year for overflow parking.

The Overton Park Conservancy has argued the zoo should not be parking on that area, and doing so reduces the enjoyment of park goers.

Dr. Chuck Brady of the Memphis Zoo explained in a statement the zoo will use a small portion of the Greenward as a last resort for parking needs.

To read the full lawsuit, click here.

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