City's Zoo Parking Plan Gets A 'Nope, Nope, Nope'



The city’s concept for the Memphis Zoo’s expanded parking plan got a big thumbs down from park advocacy groups Thursday, reviews that can be summed up in three words: “Nope, nope, nope.”

Get Off Our Lawn filed an open records request for the proposal (so did the Memphis Flyer to no avail) and the group published it on Facebook Thursday.

Here's the PDF of the plan:

See related PDF zoo_new_parking.PDF
“Approximately two acres of public parkland would be paved and converted to private use,” said the group’s Facebook post. “Nope, nope, nope.”

An equally stinging review of the plan was published by GOOL’s parent group, Citizens to Protect Overton Park (CPOP).

“We oppose this land grab,” read a Facebook post from CPOP. “There's no good reason to sacrifice two acres of irreplaceable public parkland for a handful of private parking spaces.”

But the Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) and the city of Memphis urged patience in the process and explained that the plan published Thursday was a concept, and is by no means final.

Here’s OPC’s statement in full:

“We wanted to briefly talk about the parking project document that’s making the rounds on social media this afternoon.

This draft represents the City engineer’s first revision to the plan that was proposed at the July 19 City Council meeting. No action is meant to be taken based on this concept, and it will likely go through multiple rounds of revisions before construction documents are created.

In both the original July 19 draft and this July 27 draft, the ridgeline of the proposed berm separating the Greensward from the Zoo parking lot remains in the same place.

In the July 27 version, some of the additional Zoo parking spaces have been distributed closer to that ridgeline. This was done to visualize one option for accommodating the Council amendment that called for all spaces to be 10’ x 20'.

After reviewing this draft with the city engineer last month, Overton Park Conservancy asked for some changes to the document. Out of concern for the health of mature magnolias on the Greensward, we asked that the spaces added around those trees be redistributed. We also discussed the appearance that the section of Overton Park Avenue adjacent to the park will be opened to vehicular traffic, and it’s our understanding that it will not be.

The city is preparing to issue a request for proposals for a design firm to create the plan that will actually be implemented. We expect to see the next round of revisions during that process, which will also solicit input from the public. We’re eager to begin that phase and work together to resolve this long-standing issue.”

Here's the city of Memphis statement:

“A draft map of parking plans at Overton Park is circulating social media, but we want to make sure you have the context for it.

It’s important to note that this map, which was obtained in a public records request, is just a concept that will be subject to more revision before construction. We are preparing to start the process to hire a design firm that will create the final plan.

We’ll work to keep you informed in the coming months as we seek public input and as this plan is implemented. In fact, we were already planning a meeting internally next week to get the ball rolling on communications and outreach plans.

We owe you a timeline on implementation, and we’ll check back in when we have it.”

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