Eric Gottlieb 
Member since Apr 5, 2015



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Re: “Report: New Zoo Lot Would Take an Acre of Greensward

Good article. A couple of things:

1. to emphasize, the acre+ that will be lost is due solely to the 10x20 requirement and is *in addition to* the amount of greensward that will be lost because we are adding 415 spaces to the zoo's lot if those spaces were sized at 9 x 19, as the zoo's spaces currently are.

2. The 10 x 20 requirement adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the project.

3. The agreement was that the zoo and the OPC would share in the cost of the project, not that it would be split evenly. The zoo gets between $3 and $4 million from the city each year, not counting special contributions for exhibits. The OPC gets $150 thousand from the city. It is not reasonable to expect the OPC to pay for the zoo's new lot.

4. An acre+ of pavement will contribute greatly to stormwater runoff in an area that is already prone to flooding.

5. The 10x20 requirement gets no additional spaces for the zoo. It will be a little easier for patrons to get in and out of their cars, but they'll have to walk further to get to the zoo entrance, often with little ones in tow.

This amendment is a bad idea on so many levels. Reducing the minimum space size to 9 x 18 is a no-brainer. If we can't make obvious good choices regarding simple matters like this one, I don't know how we can expect to do better on crime, poverty, education, or other such complicated issues.

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Eric Gottlieb on 01/09/2017 at 3:06 PM

Re: “Greensward SVU

Tim, we're fighting for a vision for Memphis, not just grass. Our vision includes opportunities for exercise and contact with the outdoors for folks who can't afford gyms and trips to distant locales. It recognizes that parks are an important factor in the population's well-being:
"Park quantity ... was among the strongest predictors of overall wellbeing, and the strength of this relationship appeared to be driven by parks’ contributions to physical and community wellbeing." (…)

The Trust for Public Land ranks Memphis 85th out of 100 cities for parks, and we'd be at the bottom but for Shelby Farms. (

Parks draw professionals and creatives and support the tax base. Healthy parks systems reduce crime. "When adjacent to residential areas, green spaces have been shown to create neighborhoods with fewer violent and property crimes and where neighbors tend to support and protect one another." (…)

Memphis will never achieve our full potential if all we do is put out fires. We need a positive vision, and the fight to save Overton Park is a good example.

Readers, if you share our vision, please join the FB group Stop Hurting Overton Park.…

24 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Eric Gottlieb on 06/02/2016 at 4:10 PM

Re: “Memphis’ Central Park


> I always appreciate your civil and constructive conversation.


> this is not a problem just for the Zoo to solve, the lack of parking is a park wide issue and it can not fall on a single party to fund the solution ( and I will fault the Zoo if OCP comes back with a viable solution and it is rejected by the zoo), which seems to be the call of many. The solution is some type of multiuser parking facility that must be funded by both the OCP and Zoo (would negate the Zoo's expense claim against the garage). Until the structure is completed, I still find that greensward overflow parking is the most viable option for Zoo patrons due to the timing, volume and demographics of Zoo visitors.

The approach the OPC is taking very much recognizes the validity of what you are saying. The Shell, the Brooks, the MCA, the OPC, Overton Bark, and yes, the Zoo all need parking. They are seeking a consensus solution. If it looks like it's going to be a garage, I assure you the Zoo will not pay for it -- it will come from the city, as per the zoo's contract.

However, for many years now, the Zoo has done nothing but take, while park users have given mightily. Countless nice days on the greensward, lost to parking; 4 acres of forest, lost to the zoo's bulldozers; forest views lost to the back of Teton Trek; possibly 17 acres lost to Chickasaw Bluff Trails. As I mentioned in my column, the zoo has actively undermined those who have sought other solutions. My feeling is that they want it all their way and are not interested in even trying anything other than seizing the greensward.

12 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Eric Gottlieb on 02/04/2016 at 7:54 PM

Re: “Memphis’ Central Park

Hi Drew,

> If there were more Zoo Members and patrons that agreed with the GOOL crew there would be no need for grass parking. I believe last weekend's expansive Zoo crowd shows where the community's support goes.

In my opinion, many zoo patrons would be willing to use other options if they were aware of them, but the zoo refuses to try alternatives. Patrons show up and are directed to park on the grass. By that time, it's difficult to go back and try other options (though I have seen some do just that).

> Memphis is more than midtown.

I agree with you completely. This is a Memphis issue, not a midtown issue.

> They have polled the public, and the public said that the Zoo is the main draw of the park and that it needs more parking (almost 3 to 1 over the greensward priority).

No greensward priority was offered by the survey.

> I am in favor actions that benefit the most citizens, and in this case that means acting in favor of the Zoo (even if it is building a multiuser garage or Zoo taking over the maint. area).

It doesn't need to be either-or, as indicated by the positive solutions you offer. A garage could solve this problem quickly, but again the Zoo dismisses that option. Almost everyone wants the Zoo to succeed, but park users are tired of that success coming at their expense. The zoo is going to need to find other ways to meet their parking needs.

20 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Eric Gottlieb on 02/04/2016 at 1:43 PM

Re: “Memphis’ Central Park

Many zoo members disagree with the zoo's actions. I'm one of them, as are many of my friends and neighbors.

17 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Eric Gottlieb on 02/04/2016 at 12:09 PM

Re: “Memphis’ Central Park

Jeff, another option would be for the Zoo to use _only_ remote parking, as some other Zoos do. Then they could expand over their existing parking lots. Moving the Zoo would probably cost over $100 million.

20 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Eric Gottlieb on 02/04/2016 at 8:54 AM

Re: “Memphis’ Central Park

If you want to help protect Overton Park for the benefit of present and future generations of Memphians, please join the FB group Stop Hurting Overton Park.…

18 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Eric Gottlieb on 02/04/2016 at 7:34 AM

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