This month, the Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) is asking for public input as the group continues the comprehensive planning effort that began in 2018.
“It’s a critical moment in the life of Overton Park,” says Melissa McMasters for the OPC blog. “Memphis College of Art has closed and we hope to welcome a new partner to Rust Hall soon. The Brooks Museum is moving to the riverfront in a few years, and the City-occupied 13 acres at the park’s southeast corner are set to transform back into public parkland. All this comes as we prepare to celebrate next year’s 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court case that saved Overton Park from being destroyed by Interstate 40.”
The park’s comprehensive plan will lay the foundations for the future of the park. For this phase the OPC is focusing on the first geographic area, called Zone 1. Zone 1 is on the east side of the park, and it includes the Bike Gate plaza; the East Parkway playground, pavilion, and picnic areas; and the 13-acre tract at the park’s southeast corner currently known as the General Services Area.
This area, at the southeast corner of the park off Poplar and East Parkway, has been occupied by a City of Memphis vehicle maintenance facility since the 1930s. This parcel will soon return to the park. “Deciding how it should be used will be a major component of our planning effort,” says the OPC’s website, “and it’s a big reason that we selected the east side of the park as our first priority.”
The OPC has put together a survey focusing on this part of the park. (They will move into later zones in the months ahead.) The survey provides a chance for the public to help create a space that “welcomes all Memphians, contributes to the park’s financial sustainability, and offers our city something special.”
The OPC is asking for public input, via the a short survey, by November 30. The planning team will be composing preliminary concepts based on this feedback, to be presented over the next 2-3 months.