(WMC-TV) - Get off our lawn, a new campaign demands to drivers at Overton Park.
Advocates with the community coalition, which shares the same name of their aforementioned request, says the historic Greensward is being destroyed by overflow parking from the Memphis Zoo.
"In recent years, the damage and disruption from overflow parking on the Greensward has become a huge problem for many Overton Park visitors," said Stacey Greenberg with GOOL, which launched Tuesday. "Why did we decide to begin our campaign now? Spring is a great time for a fresh start. We love our park, and enough is enough."
Designed by George Kessler in 1906, the Greensward's initial design intended park-goers to enjoy a peaceful, green space.
Recently, the City of Memphis has allowed the Memphis Zoo to use it for overflow parking causing visible damage such as tire tracks and other destruction to sections of the lawn. A satellite image from 2010 shows vehicles taking up at least a quarter of it.
The Overton Park Conservancy and the Memphis Zoo, also, want to avoid parking on the Greensward.
"That's certainly everyone's goal. Because that will likely be a very expensive solution, it's not something that we expect to happen overnight," said OPC Director of Communications Melissa McMasters.
Both of the zoo and the conservancy continue to work on a permanent solution to prevent parking in the area; ideas include a shuttle service on peak days from the Overton Square garage, improved bike and pedestrian access to the park, and a future parking garage for the zoo.
GOOL commends zoo officials' support, and, in the meantime, they look forward to helping the plans become a reality. It appears, a large part of Memphis also hopes cars and trucks will be prohibited from parking on the lawn. In two days, the GOOL Facebook page gained more 600 likes.
GOOL's website encourages supporters to email Memphis Mayor A C Wharton asking the city to stop overflow parking.
"Our goal is to end overflow parking on the Greensward this year," said Greenberg. "That will make our park a happier and more peaceful place for everyone."
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