The Teen Appeal

Giving truth to Memphis youth

Zoo and Park Patrons Battle over Greensward

By Desmond Catron (K.I.P.P.)

On Tuesdays the Memphis Zoo has free admission, which should mean fun, but crowded conditions during the coming summer months. For decades, the Zoo’s solution to getting all the people who are interested in coming through to the Zoo was letting the general public park on the Overton Park grassy area, also known as the “Greensward.”

As more and more cars drive through the space through the Zoo’s parking lot to the park’s grass area, it creates a kind of dip in the field. Workers have put gravel on the area that needs to be filled.

Memphis Zoo visitors park their cars on the Kenilworth side of Veteran’s Plaza while protestors attempt to block their route in March. Photos by Theresa Bullock.

Memphis Zoo visitors park their cars on the Kenilworth side of Veteran’s Plaza while protestors attempt to block their route in March. Photos by Theresa Bullock.

Memphis Zoo visitors park their cars on the Kenilworth side of Veteran’s Plaza while protestors attempt to block their route in March. Photos by Theresa Bullock.

Memphis Zoo visitors park their cars on the Kenilworth side of Veteran’s Plaza while protestors attempt to block their route in March. Photos by Theresa Bullock.

In response, Memphians have formed the Get Off Our Lawn (GOOL) coalition with their aim being “to permanently end overflow parking on the Overton Park Greensward” according to an open letter the group sent to the Overton Park Conservancy Board of Directors in March.

The GOOL coalition have held protests, as recently as late March, where members including high school and college students chose to block the Zoo’s access to the Greensward by forming a line blocking the gravel driveway.

The Memphis Daily News reported that in the latest incident some drivers tried to force their way through the line of protestors, which resulted in two young male protestors being intentionally bumped by vehicles. The Memphis Police Department was called to settle the testy dispute.

The park administration and Zoo officials will need to come up with a permanent solution. In February, the city, park and the Zoo came to an agreement to allow the parking while the city works on adding 350 new parking spaces.

“A lot of people come to the park to just get away from the city, walk their dogs, meditate, and enjoy a lungful of fresh air,” said Kevin McCoy, senior at Central High school. “All of the dust from the gravel was really upsetting my family’s picnic the other day.

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