Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shell photos in the CA

The Commercial Appeal website had several photos of the crowd at the last Levitt Shell concert of the spring yesterday. Check them out at:




The shell season will resume in the fall. See levittshell.org for more info.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wildflower Update

I'm good with the springtime wildflowers but am weaker on identifying things this time of year, so I checked with master gardener Candice Hawkinson (a.k.a. "Emily's mom", who's in the park every day). She told me that the round purple flower is Bee Balm, and the bush with white blossoms is Elderberry. I think it's lovely, but apparently it's quite an invasive species. At least it's adding some beauty to the forest these days, unlike (to my mind) the privet that is threatening to choke out the forest understory in too many places.

Birds and Bees at the zoo

There's an awesome new summer exhibit at the zoo. It's in the old butterfly space, but this year they have birds there instead. You're given a dowel with some seed clipped to it, and the rainbow colored parakeets come and sit right in front of your face and peck at the seed. There are about 500 of them in there, and it's an amazing site as they all rush back in forth in the air together. You can also see into a honeybee nest and watch the bees come go back and forth from the hive into the outdoor gardern by way of a clear tube. As they come back in, you can see the pollen on their legs. This is an exhibit to please all ages, so take your kids, grandkids, friends' kids, whatever kids you have access to, and have a great time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rainbow Lake Repair Coming

The parks division has said they will drain Rainbow Lake during the first two weeks in July to repair the drainage, fountains, and aeration system, thus drastically reducing the mosquito breeding ground in Overton Park. This work used to be done yearly, but observant people will have noticed that it hasn't happened lately. Anyone wishing to foster turtles or fish for re-release after the work is done might want to make that a family summer project this coming week. The zoo has also been asked about taking on this work, and we're hoping some of their staff might help.

It's never a fun week or two during this work, but the park is a better place when Rainbow Lake is circulating and draining instead of becoming a stagnant mess, so please bear with the improvements.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Early Morning Light

The early mornings are when Merlin and I take to the park these days.

He's susceptible to the heat, so we're getting up early. I forget during the winter (when we switch to a warmer time of day) how lovely the early morning light can be. Here are a few photos from our walk.

Please send your park photos, of Overton Park or whatever neighborhood park you enjoy making a daily part of your life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Riverfront breezes

Check out the riverside parks this week. I've been out on the river several times since this heat wave hit, and there's been a reliable breeze off the water. The Greenbelt park might just be the nicest place in Memphis right now.

Now Showing in the Old Forest

All these photos are from along the jogging trail this week. The spring wildflowers may be dormant now (except the leftover Mayapple fruit plentiful now that the blooms are gone), but there are still plenty of flowers in the forest for summer.

Music in the park

It's the last week for the spring concert series at the shell -- concerts Thursday through Sunday this week. Then there will be a break for the hottest part of the summer, and five more weeks' worth of concerts will resume in September/October.

The schedule is at levittshell.org

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Old Forest Cool

Take advantage of the Old Forest this summer. CPOP did a study last summer taking the temperature of Midtown. They compared thermometer readings at different sites, ranging from the middle of the Overton Square parking lot to the middle of the Old Forest. The difference was a full 13 degrees cooler at the heart of the Old Forest!

So come on out and celebrate living in a city where you can live in the heart of things and still walk in a forest every morning. Merlin and I are taking full advantage of this benefit of Memphis.

We're also taking full advantage of the drinking fountains scattered around the park that are such a benefit on days like today. There are fountains in the "Greek temple" between Boss Crump and Brooks, behind the golf cottage by the first tee, on down the jogging trail past the fairways and at the edge of the Old Forest, on the east side playground, and by the Rainbow Lake playground.

Come meet your neighbors, walk where it's cool, and be thankful for good Memphis water!

Seeking Citizen Journalists

Help us get the word out on Memphis parks. Write up an account of a great day in a park, a great night out at the shell or by the river, send in your photos of parks, or tell us about a gem of an under-known park that needs more publicity. Or write about a problem or a park that needs a little attention. Email m1marthakelly@aol.com to get something posted on our blog.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Upcoming 5ks at Overton Park

The first two races of the Memphis Runners Track Club summer series will be held at Overton Park. Both are 5ks and start at 7am. The first is July 12th and the second is July 26th. Come take advantage of this chance to run in the comparative cool of the Old Forest, for which my dog and I are grateful every morning. More information on these and other races can be found at www.memphisrunners.com

Tom Lee in sad shape after Memphis in May

Joe Royer, a South Bluffs resident, sent out these photos of Tom Lee Park on Father's Day. Every year, Memphis in May blocks off Tom Lee from use for at least a month and leaves it in deplorable condition. With the greater number of people living downtown, Tom Lee is the only neighborhood park for many, as well as being one of the most visited parks by out of towners. It's a disgrace that the park is left in terrible shape for months every summer. Memphis in May takes in a huge amount of money, and they could at least clean up after themselves at the end of the month. Other cities have banned large events in their parks because the parks are too valuable to the city.

The Riverfront Development Corp., which manages downtown parks, does not have an email address listed on their website, but you can call them at 312-9190. If they hear from the public on this, it gives them more pull with the city to get something done.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Overton Park Open golf tournament

The dates for the Overton Park Junior Open have been set. The tournament, the oldest junior golf tournament in the USA, will be held July 29th, 30th and 31st on the Overton Park course. Please encourage children, grandchildren, friends’ children....all children who play any level of golf, to sign up for the fun. PFI has been a long time sponsor of this event and we hope you will join us for the 2009 OPJO. Volunteers for the event are also welcome. Come hang out in the park and watch the golfers of the future.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Music in the park!

There are free concerts this week at the Levitt Shell, including former Memphian Todd Snider (one of my favorites). Take a blanket and go enjoy the music, the stars, and the neighborhood block party. See levittshell.org for more information.

Thu Jun 18, 2009 | 7 pm | Americana
Todd Snider

Fri Jun 19, 2009 | 7 pm | R&B w/ Soul & Gospel
Reba Russell & Susan Marshall

Sat Jun 20, 2009 | 5 pm | Kids
Conductor Jack & The Zinghoppers

Sat Jun 20, 2009 | 7:30 pm | Musica Latina
Los Cantadores

Sun Jun 21, 2009 | 7 pm | World Rhythms
Andes Manta

Monday, June 15, 2009

Commercial Appeal articles

Check out one article and one editorial on the Greensward decision in the CA:



Many thanks to the Commercial Appeal editorial board for two good editorials over the last few months addressing this issue. It's great to have the local paper supporting our parks and quality of life issues.

Flyer blog item

Mary Cashiola has been taking an interest in the Greensward issue and posted on her blog about the engineers' announcement.


Friday, June 5, 2009


Hugh Teaford and the city engineers announced last night that the plan to build a detention basin in the Greensward by Rainbow Lake is "not only dead, but sincerely dead." Here's the certificate they presented to Park Friends:

They presented two other options, which may meld into one plan that uses elements of both. Both plans call for a berm to be constructed along the old bus lane running in front of the zoo, to protect the zoo from floodwater. Both plans also widen the choke point under Poplar Avenue where Lick Creek crosses from beside Belleair Circle into the park. This culvert is not large enough to carry flood water out of Belleair during heavy rains, and it needs to be enlarged.

Options for handling flood water through the center of Overton Park include widening the other bridges across Lick Creek or, in consultation with a golf course designer, using low places in the golf course to hold and carry the water at times of heavy rain. Ideally this would be an upgrade to the affected holes and involve water hazards or other landscaping. The city designer, who redid the Galloway Golf Course, will be reviewing plans with the engineering office over the next month.

There will be a second meeting between the engineers, Park Friends, CPOP, and affected neighborhood groups on July 16th to see how the golf course and bridge plans are developing. Watch this space for updates.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Energy Needed

Park Friends, Inc. is in the middle of some changes. Glenn Cox and Melanie White, our two longest running and most active board members (12 and 15 years, respectively), need to cut back and spend more time in other aspects of their lives. Earlier, we lost David Kesler, a Rhodes College biology professor who doubled as webmaster and newsletter editor for PFI, due to his retirement and plans for leaving Memphis. Glenn will also be completely retiring from the board, and Melanie will be handing off her officer duties. Park Friends needs a few people who love Overton Park and are willing to bring their energy and enthusiasm and new ideas to help us protect and steward it. Please consider volunteering a little time to improve the park we all spend so much time in and/or to advocate for parks across the city. Contact Park Friends if you are interested, or talk up this opportunity to friends who love the park.

Lick Creek Flood Control Meeting

There will be a planning meeting with city officials to consider options for flood control of Lick Creek in and around Overton Park. The engineers had previously announced a plan that would dig out the Greensward to a depth of 18 feet and route storm water into the detention basin, but they have been exploring other options and will present these options June 4th. Martha Kelly will represent Park Friends at the meeting,Cindy Buchanan will be there for Park Services, Naomi Van Tol will represent CPOP, and other affected neighborhoods and organizations will also be represented. Park Friends is looking forward to working with the the engineering and public works departments to find a resolution to the Midtown flooding problems that does not harm the integrity of Overton Park.