Overton Park plan put on hold while city studies possible parking deck

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Protestors try to block vehicles from parking on the Overton Park greensward near the Memphis Zoo.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis is considering a parking deck on Prentiss Place instead of a plan that calls for removing trees in Overton Park to create parking for the Memphis Zoo.

Kyle Veazey, deputy COO with the city, said the city is putting the zoo’s current parking plan on hold while it considers an alternative. He stressed that the decision was not yet final, but said it was important to pause now, before trees had to be removed.

The city’s goal is this, he said: “That we use either no greenspace, or very little greenspace, significantly less than the 2.4 acres that the current plan calls for.”

The idea of a parking deck had previously been taken off the table, but Veazey said the city believed it might be able to build a one-story steel parking deck for a cost comparable to the current plan.

Crews have completed 90 percent of construction on the first phase of the plan, which was an addition of parking capacity at the Prentiss Place lot, the Overton Park Conservancy said in a release. The next phase would have involved the removal of dozens of trees.

OPC said the new solution could offer as many as 240 additional spaces on top of the Prentiss place lot.

Tina Sullivan, executive director with Overton Park Conservancy, said she was grateful that the city and the zoo were exploring alternatives to using greenspace for parking.

“We think it’s really smart to pause, explore all options that are available to us and then make a decision and moving forward from there,” Sullivan said.

See the previous plan here.

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