Officials move forward with plans to expand Overton Park

Overton Park expansion

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Overton Park Conservancy is working to expand the park over the next several years.

Overton Park is one of Midtown's most popular attractions and park leaders are focused on keeping it that way as work begins to develop a new master plan.

Like many Memphians, Ben Smith visits Overton Park as much as he can.

"Since it's so close to home, I'll come over and read the newspaper in the morning, bring a cup of coffee. It's just a nice place to hang out, relax and have some fresh air," said Smith.

To help keep it that way, Ben shared his two cents about the park's future.

"There's this idea for a visitor's center here, which I think is a good idea," said Smith.

The Overton Park Conservancy invited park visitors like Ben to give feedback, as they move forward in development.

Executive Director Tina Sullivan said there hasn’t been a plan for Overton Park for 30 years.

"So it's time to update that," said Sullivan.

Aside from a better playground and improved access for pedestrians, she said a major opportunity awaits in the southeast corner of the park.

Right now, those 13 acres are being used by the city's general services division, but they're moving out and returning the land for park use.

"So we're hoping to find some great ideas of what members of the public and Memphians want to see in that corner of the park," said Sullivan.

The planning comes as the Brooks Museum prepares to move downtown and the College of Art prepares to close its doors for good.

City officials are working to determine what will happen to those two historic buildings.

It will all eventually be part of the master plan for Overton Park, serving as a roadmap for the next 10 to 20 years.

Overton Park Conservancy hopes to select a Master Plan designer in the early part of 2019.

The city is holding a public meeting to get feedback on the future of the buildings currently housing the museum and the college of art.

The meeting will be held November 28 at 6 p.m. in Lester Community Center.

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