City releases final Overton Park plan, says no more Greensward parking for zoo

Photo: Memphis Zoo

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new parking plan for the Memphis Zoo has been finalized and city officials said Thursday the new design ends overflow parking on the Overton Park Greensward.

The plan moves an entrance and drive aisle and takes out the pedestrian access path from the Greensward to the zoo.

It stays on the zoo side of the ridgeline, and the city says there will be a barrier to separate the Greensward from the parking lot.

The Overton Park Conservancy said in a statement that 2.4 acres of parkland had to be converted into parking under the plan. The OPC felt that loss deeply but acknowledged the issue required compromise.

“What Overton Park gains in return is the permanent protection of approximately one-third of the Greensward that’s been used for parking for decades—recreational space that is currently inaccessible to the public for more than 60 days every year,” the OPC said. “No longer will families and friends have to share space with cars on every beautiful day—they’ll be able to use the space to relax, play, and enjoy their time together.”

Zoo parking in the Greensward area began in the 1980s and has been a controversial topic for years. The city, the zoo and the Overton Park Conservancy worked for months on a compromise.

Construction on the parking solution could begin in November 2018.

See the plan below, or follow this link.