As I mentioned, Greg and I are putting our money where our hearts are so last week we joined the Overton Park Conservancy. When we got married in 2011, we lived in an apartment right at Poplar and Cooper, which made Overton our front yard. The view out of our front window was the tee box for hole 9 on the golf course, which we found out on the day that my dad was playing and called me to say that he was looking at my living room window. One of the only things I really miss about our first home is how close we were to the park. We would go for strolls in the Old Forest on the paved trails and on hikes through its heart. We started our Christmas card tradition in the smack middle of the forest. We also went to the zoo a lot, saw Armed and Dangerous at the Brooks, and attended concerts at the Levitt Shell. I’m a big Paul Thorn fan, and the first time I saw him live was at a Shell concert. For free. Because Memphis.
At the end of 2011, the Overton Park Conservancy formally entered the scene as the nonprofit management group of the park. The City of Memphis maintains ownership, but the Conservancy protects, preserves and enhances the park. In June 2012, they opened Overton Bark. We had gotten Zeb, our lovable, neurotic mutt from the pound, in January and had been taking him to the city dog park at Tobey Park. There’s not much shade there, which made it very difficult to be motivated to go. Overton Bark on the other hand is a well-designed use of a previously under utilized space. The entrance is architecturally interesting, and there is enough space for my big, goofy dog to get his play on while I sit under some old growth trees on benches made from the few trees they had to fell during construction.
Now that we’ve moved a whole ten minutes away and acquired a baby, we don’t make it to the park as much as we did when we only had to walk across one street. But we go to the zoo and have taken the baby and Zeb on walks in the Old Forest and to romp around the dog park. We also took the kiddo to his first concert ever at the Levitt Shell. He got to see Amy Lavere for free. Because Memphis.
In a few short months, we will take Noah to play on the wonderful new playground and to borrow books from the Little Free Library that is dedicated to children’s books. We will go to the zoo a lot and make it a point to go and see Brooks’ Marisol exhibit before it leaves in September. I’ll start sharing my love of the outdoors with my kid by taking him on hikes in the middle of his city. We joined the Conservancy because it benefits every member of our family–two and four legged alike–in very real ways, and we want to see them succeed in their longterm goals. If you haven’t seen the work that they have been doing, check out their website and explore the projects that have been completed and what is in the planning stages. It’ll make you happy.