The Citizens to Preserve Overton Park recently visited the University District in order to support MemFix. This group of Overton Park supporters has a rich culture all their own that many may not be aware of.
The fight to save Overton Park, located at 1914 Poplar Ave., has been going on for several years. According to Peter Strauss in his article Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe—of Politics and Law, Young Lawyers and the Highway Goliath, published in Administrative Law Stories, Overton Park did not originally support the group’s efforts.
“We decided that we would speak for the trees and the green, the Old Forest, the Greensward and the other open spaces of Overton Park,” he said.
Barnes emphasized that the group’s goal is “to preserve and defend the Old Forest and open spaces of Overton Park for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”
The group’s hard work to preserve nature in Memphis has not gone without progress, Barnes said.
“We successfully lobbied to have the Old Forest declared a State Natural Area. Thanks to the work of Senator Beverly Marrero, Representative Jeanne Richardson and Mayor A.C. Wharton, it is now a Tennessee State Natural Area, protected in perpetuity from destruction,” he said.
In addition, the group also prevented an area, which is designated for recreational activity, from being the site of a floodwater basin.
“We also were one of the leaders of the local coalition that successfully fought off an attempt to remold the Greensward into a ‘mud pit,’ a destructive, unwanted and unnecessary storm water detention basin,” he said.
For anyone who wishes to get involved, Barnes said that the Overton Park citizens group leads “free Old Forest nature hikes twice a month, at 10 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday and last Sunday of every month, rain, snow or shine,” as well as “hold annual music Jamborees, in mid-winter, with and for Old Forest and Greensward supporters.”
Barnes gave simple words of encouragement for those who live near the University District to get involved, as Overton Park is located within just a few miles of the district.
“Because the park's an awesomely fun place, you'll want to speak for it,” he said.