Monday, June 2, 2014

UPDATE: Protestors Call For New Zoo Leadership As Parking Problems Persist

Posted By on Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 1:37 PM

The Memphis Zoo needs new leadership, according to the protest group that helped ban cars from parking on the Overton Park Greensward.


Get Off Our Lawn, the group that protested Greensward parking, issued a simple statement Monday: "It is time for new zoo leadership." The statement also called for supporters to send that message to city leaders and to Twitter with the hashtag #newzooleadership.

The statement came after Memphis Zoo president Chuck Brady asked zoo members on Monday to contact Memphis Mayor A C Wharton for “an adequate solution” for parking around the zoo and criticized the new, trial shuttle service that started last weekend. The Get Off Our Lawn statement said they were "disheartened" to see Brady's letter saying he's not giving the shuttle a chance or showing an effort to find alternative parking solutions.

"Brady's ultimate goal is to open (Overton Park's Old Forest) roads to trams, which would have no greater capacity than the current shuttles," said the Get Off Our Lawn statement. "The Old Forest roads have been closed to traffic for over 20 years and are not up for discussion as a solution."

Brady's letter came Monday as three, large events loom for the park this weekend that will no doubt strain the already challenging parking situation there.


An email from Brady to zoo members Monday said he’s working to convince city officials to come up with a “better plan — both short term and long term — for all of our visitors within Overton Park.”

The two, free shuttles, that run from the new parking garage at Overton Square to Overton Park aren’t cutting it, he said.

“We feel it is our members and visitors who will suffer the most from this approach, and we agree with your concerns that this isn’t an adequate solution,” read Brady’s letter.

If the Overton Park Greensward is no longer available for overflow parking and no one comes up with better short-term solutions than the shuttles, the “Zoo will be negatively impacted in many ways, including the scope of our operations.”

  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Chuck Brady

Brady’s letter urges zoo members to contact Wharton at Also, it asks for public feedback at the zoo at (901) 333-6567 or at

Parking problems around the zoo were pushed to the forefront earlier this year when a group called Get Off Our Lawn began protesting against zoo parking on the park’s Greensward. Mayor Wharton said publicly that parking was prohibited on the park field as his office, zoo officials, and the Overton Park Conservancy searched for parking solutions.

The issue will be pushed to the limit this weekend as simultaneous events are scheduled in Overton Park.

The Overton Park Conservancy will host A Day of Merrymaking at Overton Park, a free festival for families, kids, and dogs on the Greensward from 10 a.m. To 3 p.m. The Levitt Shell will host the Moon River Music Festival with gates opening at 11 a.m. Also, sources have said this weekend last year was one of the largest for attendance at the Memphis Zoo.

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