Thursday, January 14, 2016

Protest Planned at Greensward

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 1:04 PM

click to enlarge GET OFF OUR LAWN
  • Get Off Our Lawn

Get Off Our Lawn (GOOL), the Overton Park Greensward advocacy group, and Citizens to Protect Overton Park (CPOP) will host a "ceremonial tree-planting" at the park Saturday to protest the Memphis Zoo's removal of 27 trees from the Greensward earlier this week.

Zoo officials removed the trees to make way for more Greensward parking. They gave no notice given to the Overton Park Conservancy (OPC), which said the move was “entirely unacceptable.”

Zoo leaders have said the removal was legal thanks to a legal opinion issued by Allan Wade, attorney for the Memphis City Council, who said the zoo does, indeed, control part of the Greensward for parking. A zoo spokesman told reporters Wednesday that the original planting of the trees was done intentionally to block parking for zoo patrons. 

The move raised the ire of many who took to social media Wednesday and Thursday to denounce zoo leadership for what some said amounted to vandalism in Overton Park. Others said they were zoo members and would not go to back inside the zoo until its leaders agreed on a plan for  parking.    

GOOL and CPOP has invited citizens to the Greensward Saturday, Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. for the protest called "Take Back Our Greensward." The event will "help us remind zoo leaders that Overton Park does not belong to them. It belongs to the citizens of Memphis, and we are taking it back."

"We are sick of seeing our public parkland used as a parking lot and profit center by the Memphis Zoo," reads the Facebook invitation. "We want to encourage the new city council and Mayor [Jim] Strickland to do the right thing for Overton Park: Ban Greensward parking forever!"

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