Why 2 Months, $1 Million?

Flag football on the GreenswardOn April 11, 2017, Memphis City Council passed a resolution with two major impacts to the Greensward parking project. One amendment removed the July 2016 resolution’s mandate that all parking spaces be supersized 10′ x 20′ spaces, replacing it with a standard space size of 9′ x 19′. This change reduces the footprint of the parking lot and could preserve up to an acre of the Greensward.

The second amendment states that the Council will not approve moving forward with the design and engineering of the project until both the Zoo and Overton Park Conservancy can produce either cash or pledges of $1 million each. Council is asking us to have those commitments by June 11.

Now is the time. We have two months to raise a million dollars, and we can end Greensward parking forever.

Raising 50% of the costs of this project is a major lift for a five-year-old organization operating a free resource with no admission or concession fees. While we won’t know our final costs until the design process is complete, we estimate that our share will amount to around $1.5 million. This comes in the year when our initial five-year foundation grants have expired, leaving us to raise our full $1 million annual budget with little in reserve. We’re pivoting our focus to finally putting an end to Greensward parking just as we find ourselves in greatest need of support to continue our operations.

That’s how committed we are to returning the park to the people of Memphis.

The Greensward parking solution that we reached last summer protects the park from further non-park uses. After the project is completed, Overton Park Conservancy can continue the momentum we’ve built over the past five years, making the park welcoming, accessible, clean, and beautiful.

This is truly a make-or-break year for Overton Park Conservancy. If we succeed, we’ll continue creating a world-class park, and we’ll do something no one has been able to do in three decades: end parking on the Greensward. It’s time for visitors to Overton Park to be surrounded by their neighbors, not their neighbors’ cars.

To do this, we will need your commitment to be as strong as ours. If you’ve never given to the Conservancy before, please make an investment in what this park has become, and what it could be without cars at its center. If you have supported us in the past, we are sincerely grateful, and we would be honored if you would choose this year to double your gift. Overton Park needs you.

To contribute directly to the $1 million Greensward project, please use the form below. If you’d prefer to support Overton Park’s operations, click here instead.

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