New Memphis Zoo parking deal made, saving Greensward in Overton Park

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Memphis Zoo President Jim Dean and Overton Park Conservancy Executive Director Tina Sullivan announced a new agreement for expanded zoo parking Tuesday afternoon that saves the beloved stretch of Overton Park lawn known as the Greensward.

Instead of expanding 2.4 acres into the Greensward for new parking spaces, the zoo has ditched the effort and, instead, the current zoo maintenance area will be converted to zoo member parking and zoo maintenance workers will relocate to the city’s maintenance center off East Parkway, Strickland said Tuesday.

“It also provides both the Conservancy and the zoo the opportunity to avoid spending for what has become almost a $2.5 million expansion of the existing lot,” Strickland said. “So that’s money saved and preserves those funds for other purposes. You will see changes as soon as this fall when some of the lines of demarcation start to change.”

That zoo maintenance area will be reconfigured to include 300 parking spaces for members, with an opportunity to “go vertical” as Dean puts it.

“That maintenance lot (on East Parkway) will be cleaned and paved,” Dean said. “And then, if we needed to, in the future as we add more more facilities to the zoo — and if attendance dictates that — we would build up a structure there.”

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