Memphis Zoo officials say this weekend they will not use the full Greensward footprint granted to them by the Memphis City Council for parking to ensure cars don’t interfere with other events planned for the Greensward.
Zoo spokeswoman Laura Doty said in an email Thursday that the zoo plans to park cars “on an as-needed basis only on the original footprint on the northwest corner of the Greensward.”
“We do not plan to use the extended footprint granted by the city council in an effort to compromise and work with [Overton Park Conservancy],” Doty said in a statement. “This will ensure that a rugby tournament and a reading flash mob for Literacy Memphis can go on as planned.”
Memphis Police Department officers will be on hand, according to the statement.
“There will be Memphis police officers on-site, as there are on many of our busy weekends, to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” Doty said. “We hope that everyone from across the Mid-South can enjoy both the Memphis Zoo and Overton Park.”
Numerous events are planned for the Greensward this weekend - some directly related to the Greensward parking issue and some not.
• So far, dozens have shown interest on Facebook in a demonstration set for Saturday at 10 a.m.
The rally will begin at Veteran’s Plaza and attendees will march to the corner of McLean and Prentiss Place. The group plans to march between the two spots from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“This is not a call for civil disobedience,” says the Facebook invitation. “We will not block the streets or driveways.”
• Another event, called “Feed the Need and Save the Greensward” asks people to bring canned goods and non-perishable items to the Greensward Saturday starting at noon. The items will be donated to the Midsouth Food Bank.
“For every item donated, you may enter for a chance to win your very own Save the Greensward shirt,” says the invitation.
• The Dry Gulch Renegades, a rugby team that bills itself as the “exclusive sports team of the Greensward” will take the pitch at the Greensward at 2 p.m. for a match against The Gadsen [Alabama] Pioneers.
The invitation says the Renegades have been “supporting their community through volunteering for the Overton Park Conservancy and playing rugby in protest of the Memphis Zoo at our home field, the best piece of grass in this city, the Overton Park Greensward.”
“Come support your local dudes while they kick ass on the Greensward and help us occupy the park to keep these jerks off our lawn,” says the Facebook invitation.
• In an event that’s not directly linked to the Greensward parking issue, Literacy Mid-South will host its fourth annual Reading Flash Mob from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
“What a perfect excuse to gather your friends, family, book clubs, and pets and enjoy a beautiful afternoon in the park,” reads the invitation. “Don’t forget to stop by the Literacy Mid-South tent and learn more about this great organization.”