Thursday, January 21, 2016

Overton Park Conservancy Agrees to Mediation

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 11:21 AM

The Greensward at Overton Park (seen above) is at the center of the dispute between the OPC and MZS. - JUSTIN FOX BURKE
  • Justin Fox Burke
  • The Greensward at Overton Park (seen above) is at the center of the dispute between the OPC and MZS.

The Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) board agreed Wednesday to enter into a mediation process with the Memphis Zoological Society (MZS), as requested Tuesday by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Strickland convened a meeting of OPC and MZS leaders at Memphis City Hall Tuesday and proposed that the two groups enter into a mediation process, in which a neutral third party helps settle a dispute between two opposing sides.

OPC and MZS leaders told Strickland they would would bring the idea to their separate boards of directors for a vote. The OPC board agreed to the process in a vote Wednesday.   

The issue between the two groups is whether or not the zoo can use a portion of the park's Greensward for overflow parking.

"We appreciate mayor Strickland's support of the public parking and traffic planning process that will be undertaken in the coming weeks by all the park's partner institutions," OPC director Tina Sullivan said in a statement. "We are optimistic that practical, innovative solutions will be identified. We encourage all park stakeholders to bring ideas to the table, so that together we can collaborate on the best future for the park and its visitors."

No word yet on whether the zoo board will agree to the mediation process. 

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