Memphis Zoo parking lot construction to begin Monday

Memphis Zoo parking lot construction to begin Monday
The zoo has a verbal agreement with the City of Memphis to use the Greensward for overflow parking.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Construction on a new Memphis Zoo parking lot is set to begin Monday, August 26.

“We’ve put the past behind us. We’re focused on tomorrow," said Memphis Zoo President Jim Dean at a news conference Wednesday.

The parking lot will offer a solution to the overflow of Memphis Zoo parking on the Overton Park Greensward.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are about the coordination and cooperation of all the parties in getting into action," said City Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen.

Construction will begin on the Prentiss Place lot and will take about 90 days. An estimated 108 new parking spots will be created.

“That will forever permanently end parking on the Greensward," said McGowen.

Once construction is complete, the greensward will be blocked off for vehicles.
Once construction is complete, the greensward will be blocked off for vehicles. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

For years, overflow parking would spill onto the Overton Park Greensward. Last year, the final plans to solve the debate were announced. Overflow parking on the Greensward will continue while construction takes place, but the space will be completely blocked off to vehicles once the construction is complete.

“I’m really optimistic, though, about the future of Overton Park and the future of the Memphis Zoo as we work together as one team with a shared vision of the future," said Overton Park Conservancy President Tina Sullivan.

Once the Prentiss Place lot is complete, construction crews will work on the main zoo lot and open more space for parking spots.

According to the Memphis Zoo, the project will bring parking spaces from 865 to 1,280.

Memphis Zoo and the Overton Park Conservancy each raised half of the $3 million needed to expand parking.

Leaders say they’re eager and hopeful in seeing organizations come together.

“We love our park. We love our old forest. We love our walking trails. We love Greensward. We love the zoo,” said Mary Wilder with Overton Park Alliance.

Work on the main parking lot, including transplanting trees to form a barrier between the main lot and the Greensward will happen over the winter.

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