Suggestions Vary on Filling Empty Space at Overton Park

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OVERTON PARK CONSERVANCY
  • Overton Park Conservancy

Peaceful. Busy. Commercial spaces. No commercial spaces. Build recreational areas. Build nothing.

Votes and suggestions are in for the best ways to develop a 13-acre piece of property on the east side of Overton Park. The space has been home to a City of Memphis general services facility for decades. But it’s moving out, leaving a blank canvas that the Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) is now calling Zone 1.

More than 1,000 of you gave us your thoughtful feedback when we asked about the future of the east side of the park....

Posted by Overton Park on Wednesday, February 10, 2021

It will, ultimately, be up to OPC to decide how to fill the space. But the organization asked community members in November what they want to see in the space. More than 1,000 voiced their opinions, and those opinions are varied.

A Thursday blog post from OPC showed some high-level opinions. Another post, promised later, will get into the nitty-gritty of what amenities community members would like to see in the space.

OVERTON PARK CONSERVANCY
  • Overton Park Conservancy

”Recreational areas e.g. volleyball courts, bocce courts, horseshoe pits, etc. for bring your own equipment,” reads one opinion OPC shared Thursday. “Nice restrooms. Unique playground. Maybe use greenhouse to grow and sell plants and flowers. Gift shop/restaurant/snack bar would be nice.”



Another resident opined, though, that the site should not be just for “developing amenities.”

OVERTON PARK CONSERVANCY
  • Overton Park Conservancy

“Memphis needs a leader to bring the vision of an ecologically sustainable city to fruition,” reads the opinion. “Specifically, the park should focus development of this site on teaching and promoting the idea of ecosystem services, which is a scientific field detailing how urban forests can promote healthier people, improve safety, lower infrastructure costs, and add environmentally friendly jobs to our economy.”



Another set of opinions urged OPC leaders to “keep things quiet and peaceful” and, then, to “keep it busy. As many community engagement programs as possible. The more use it gets, the better its future is.”

OVERTON PARK CONSERVANCY
  • Overton Park Conservancy

OPC said its design and business planning teams are working to incorporate all the ideas into “some exciting options.” However, the group admits implementing changes in the space will require “a source of revenue that it does not currently have.”

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