Design work has begun to reconfigure the Memphis Zoo’s parking lot to allow more spaces which will, ultimately, end parking on the Overton Park Greensward.
The Memphis City Council approved a plan in July that would give zoo visitors more places to park and end the zoo’s use of the Greensward for overflow parking.
The plan is a result of the mediation process between the Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) and the zoo, a process begun in January by Mayor Jim Strickland. Mediation failed but ideas from the process were part of the compromise deal assembled by council member Bill Morrison and passed by the council.
City engineers have designed concept layouts for the reconfiguration, according to the Overton Park Conservancy (OPC). Next, they’ll gather all the information needed to request proposals from private design firms to formalize the concepts.
Selecting and signing a design firm could take about six months, OPC said. The entire design process for the project could cost about $400,000 and $500,000.
That process will also include public outreach and meetings. OPC said in a blog post Wednesday that keeping ht public informed “will be a key part of this project.”
“The project will be overseen by a committee with representatives from the Memphis Zoo, the city of Memphis, and Overton Park Conservancy,” OPC said. “Together, we’re working on a communications plan that will keep all stakeholders informed throughout the process.
Our goal is to provide regular updates to the public, as well as ample notice of opportunities for the community to provide feedback.”
The zoo’s lot will never close when construction begins. Instead construction will come in phases and will take place largely in off-peak seasons when parking demand is low.
The overall reconfiguration plan will include a tree care plan developed with the help of the Memphis Tree Board.