Proposal Would Replace Midtown's Old Forest with a Newer Model

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Some of my best friends are trees, says Portland transplant Lake Tweely
  • "Some of my best friends are trees," says Portland transplant Lake Tweely
Lake Tweely thinks Memphis has a lot of potential. The Boise native who spent a year-and-a-half in Portland before moving to a place where he thought that might actually impress somebody, cited all of the good things happening with Overton Square, Crosstown, Broad Ave., and Cooper Young, before airing his lone grievance and sharing his bold vision for the future.

"This place has so much energy and soul," Tweely says. "But the so-called 'Old Forest' thing that's happening in Overton Park has got to come down." Tweely isn't anti-tree, he just thinks Memphis would be better served by a newer forest that's up to date and appeals to younger people.

"The name says it all," Tweely elaborates. "'The Old Forest' doesn't sound like a place you hang out with your friends, it sounds like a place you go to kick your meth habit or something."

Although plans have yet to be finalized,Tweely has some ideas about what a new Midtown forest might look like.

"First, it has to be organic," he says. "So, to my mind it all comes back to food trucks and locally-produced craft beer. These are the sorts of things younger people expect from nature, and if we want to attract and keep innovative business-minded people in Memphis, we can't afford to not do this."

Tweely also invisions pop-up style kiosks he calls "coffee stumps," that would sell beverages and gourmet donuts while providing gallery space for local artists.

"Right now I'm talking to fabricators who build those cell phone towers that look like trees," Tweely says. "Can you imagine a brand new forest full of craft beer and artisanal donuts with the fastest Internet in the city? Of course you can't. That's what I'm here for."

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