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From Martha Kelly at Overtone Park Friends Inc.

I’m sorry for multiple emails about this, but this issue is real, and it is critical.  There will be a meeting tomorrow night in the VECA neighborhood to talk about this.  Please take a couple hours if you can to show up and talk with the City Engineers and Councilman Strickland to let them know your position on this crucial decision.

All the best,

To all lovers of Overton Park:

The city plans to destroy the Greensward in Overton Park, and we need your voices to speak up to defend it.  The city engineers want to improve drainage in the nearby creek by digging out the entire field by Rainbow Lake and making it a bowl 18′ deep (as deep as a two story building sunk into the field).  The bowl would collect storm drain run-off (and the trash, oily residue, lawn chemicals and everything else that gets washed down storm drains).   The field is squishy enough when it rains now — if it’s dug out that deep it will be standing water and mud for much of the year.  Mosquitoes will breed on a scale never before seen in Midtown, and the trash and oil will sit there in a fetid stew.

This is the ONLY field in the park that is not part of the golf course, zoo, or other organized, paid-for activity.  We need this gathering place for picnics, kite-flying, dog walking, game playing, and general hanging out.  That’s what parks are for, and this one is constantly in use by the people. According to the engineering plan, 411 parking spaces would be set aside for overflow parking from the Zoo, but the rest of the field would be converted to a bowl of mud. The engineering maps and more information are posted at

This project is typical of the way that the some city agencies look at irreplacible park land as targets of opportunity for projects which they would not consider worthwhile if park land were not available.

Since there is no organized lobby for the park, we need the citizens to speak up to protect it. The Vollentine-Evergreen Community Association ( will host a public meeting at their headquarters, 1680 Jackson Avenue, at *6:30pm next Wednesday, March 11*, to discuss the issue of Lick Creek flood control. Representatives from the City of Memphis will be on hand to answer questions.  Feel free to carry some “SAVE OUR PARK” signs.

Whether you can attend the meeting or not, your written comments may be sent to:
Hugh Teaford
City of Memphis Engineering Division
125 N. Main, Room 644
Memphis TN 38103

Here are the key decision-makers to copy on your written comments:

Mayor Willie W. Herenton –

Director Wain Gaskins
City of Memphis Engineering
125 N. Main St. Room 644
Memphis, TN 38103

Director Cindy Buchanan
City of Memphis Park Services
2599 Avery Avenue
Memphis, TN 38112

Councilman Jim Strickland
Memphis City Council, District 5
125 N. Main, Room 514
Memphis, TN 38103

Email and addresses for other City Council Members are on line at

Congressman Steve Cohen
U.S. Congress, District 9
167 North Main Street, Suite 369
Memphis, TN 38103
Email via his website:

Please help preserve this priceless park for future generations.

Martha Kelly
Park Friends, Inc.

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