Friday, July 31, 2009
The shallow end of the lake, the one that usually backs up with leaf debris, is dry, so a crew of workers is shovelling out muck. The lake should be much, much nicer when they're done.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The CA (photo above by Jim Weber) ran a great story on the Local News front page about the first day of fish rescue. That publicity brought out a few more volunteers for the second day of work yesterday, and there was a follow up paragraph this morning about the most unusual find, the Oscar. The zoo curators were quite excited about the Oscar, and he went into his own tank at the zoo immediately. He will be a permanent resident there.
Action News 5 also did a story, with anchor Nick Kenney actually standing out in the middle of the lake. They got some great footage of turtles and highlighted the hardworking volunteers that Park Friends is so grateful to.
Thanks again to all who turned out to splash around in mud and who managed to save more than 10,000 fish -- a great couple of days' worth of work! The park is better for all of you.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
My camera person couldn't make it today, but Josh Horton took some video for anyone curious to see the state of the lake on day two. The lake area will be under repairs for the rest of the week and hopefully filled up by early next week. The fish will be returned to their regular habitat a few days later, after the chlorine settles out and the water can support them.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Adding caught fish to the tanks in the truck.
Our first turtle rescue.
The Zoo-directed rescue effort in Rainbow Lake today netted 15 turtles and many mosquito fish as well as some sunfish, snails, and other shellfish. The pumping of the lake took a bit longer than originally thought, however, so we're having one more day of wading fun tomorrow starting at noon. Come out and join us if you can. Wear galoshes and bring a net if you have one. I just resurrected my grandfather's fishing net and will mend the holes tonight in preparation for tomorrow. We had a blast today -- come join the party tomorrow and see what else besides a rubber chicken we find on the bottom of the lake.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Please visit the new Overton Square community discussion website to give feedback about what you'd like to see in the square. They're compiling ideas to try to influence the owners and developers.
I'm thrilled that Rainbow Lake, unlike the Mall reflecting pool, will be cleaned up and repaired beginning today. Maybe we can make this a start on reclaiming the landscaping that George Kessler had in mind when he first laid out Overton Park. The grass has mostly stayed mowed this year, but a little more grooming and removal of both limbs and litter would make a vastly better impression in the mind of our visitors and raise the quality of life for daily park users.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
The Zoo just posted preliminary plans for a boardwalk in the portion of the Old Forest that they have behind their fence. They are soliciting opinions from the public, which is a good change of policy from the Teton Trek days, so please take advantage of this opportunity to give them feedback. I'll post more information here as I get it. Click on the pictured image (once you're on their site) to see a slideshow of four drawings of the plans. They also have photos of similar area boardwalks, including the lovely Rossville Wolf River wetlands boardwalk that is well worth a visit if you haven't seen it.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The repair work on Rainbow Lake is coming up next week, and a number of park users have asked me what happens to the fish. I checked with Brian Carter, the zoo publicity guy who sits on our board, and he and the marine curators have graciously agreed to help out with this problem. The Zoo is going to temporarily relocate the lake's fish and amphibians to the Zoo exhibits and holding tanks, but it's a big job, and they'll need help catching the fish.
Brian says they've bought a large number of nets and need volunteers on Tuesday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help out. Volunteers ages 18 and older who are interested in helping should email Brandy Weigandt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Outdoor work clothes and rubber boots are strongly recommended.
Please help spread the word, since we don't have a lot of time to publicize this effort.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday was such a gorgeous day that I celebrated by going to the park twice -- my regular morning walk and then an after dinner hangout to watch the evening sky. I wasn't alone. 103.5 FM chose the Shell to host its Soul Family Reunion this year, and there was a rocking party happening over there. A very different celebration was a wedding in the Brooks walled garden just opposite the Shell. The harp would have had a hard time competing with the soul music, but it looked like the festival folks took a break to let the ceremony happen. Other celebrations were scattered around the park as families and friends camped out on blankets and enjoyed the evening. It was marvelous to see so many people coming together to rejoice in a beautiful day and mingle our celebrations in one large public park that Memphis is so lucky to have.
The second article featured River Workout Fitness Program, a workout at the Greenbelt park that offered a free trial Saturday morning. Beats a concrete box gym building any day!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I love our Midtown tree canopy, but sometimes I want to see the sky. Today's clouds (and the amazing weather) lured me back to Overton Park for a second time this evening. It's the best place to see a broad span of sky, aside from the middle of Poplar Avenue, which is not a safe viewing area. I hope everyone got to spend some of this gorgeous day outside, or better yet, in a park.
Friday, July 17, 2009
The plan still calls for widening the culvert under Poplar (which is unfortunately likely to take about six months) and a berm across the front of the zoo and its parking lot (skirting the edge of the Greensward but taking no trees). They've decided to route the water coming into the park under Poplar east and across golf hole #7 instead of west and across several others. That route allows water to flow more directly into the forest, where it can help the thirsty sycamores.
They will also have to rework several bridges, including two newer ones by the golf house and by the Rainbow Lake playground. Still in question are the two older bridges, esp. the one just downstream of Poplar, which were built by the WPA. They can reroute water around them or rebuild them to be wider at the base. The bridges are in dubious repair and may succumb to floods in the highest of storms if left in their present condition. Hugh Teaford of the engineers is due to meet with several of us, including representatives from Landmarks and Memphis Heritage, to consider the question.
Bad news from the meeting was the report on the contracting engineer digging the retention basin at CBU. He has breached a pipe or two and not done effective erosion control during the project, and brown water has been released into Lick Creek. I'd noticed several days ago that the creek through the park was stagnant with a terrible smell, and this is the cause. CPOP has photos of the site and more information here. Given how badly this retention basin construction has gone wrong, park lovers can rejoice that nothing like this project is going to happen in the Greensward.
5:30 pm in the Balinese Ballroom, 330 N. Main (corner of N. Main & Commerce) in the Pinch, just N. of the interstate ramps.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Sunday is the next of the Memphis Music Commission's free July concerts at the Shell -- every Sunday from 5-8 pm. This week's lineup is Jamie Randolph & The Darkhorse, NMB, Vincent Tharpe & Kenosis and The LightYears Jazz Quartet featuring TJ Graham.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Had a marvellous time at the Shell last night. We need to get the word out about the Sunday evening concerts -- there weren't nearly as many people for these as they got for the regular Shell season, even though Di Anne Price and her Boyfriends played, and for my money, they're the best not only in Memphis but anywhere. Tell your friends the free concerts are ongoing -- Sundays from 5-9 or so.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
A local businessman is working on starting a farmers' market, possibly in Overton Park. I love the downtown one, but Midtown could badly use one within walking distance. (It took me 12 minutes to drive from my corner of Midtown near the park down to the south edge of downtown this morning). Also, a market on a different day would be great -- if I'm out of town for the weekend, I miss out for the week, unless I want to drive even further out to the botanic gardens. Madison, WI has a market every day in a different neighborhood, making locally grown food easy for everyone to get and profitable for the farmers. With Millington and Collierville working on getting their own markets, Midtown is overdue.
Friday, July 10, 2009
A friend is in China for the summer, and she has reported that Chinese parks are packed from morning to night with people playing music, dancing, and doing tai chi. I love seeing running groups and the Sunday drum circle with dancers, and the new shell concerts are bringing tons of neighbors together. Wouldn't it be great if we had more groups using the park daily and being inspirations for living well?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
One of the things I love about walking in the park is that I see something new every day. Sometimes it's because of the constantly changing kaleidoscope of nature, and sometimes it's just that there's so much to see that there's always something I've never noticed before. Today this neat tree knot jumped out at me as I was walking around the jogging trail in the forest. It looks a bit like a gnome. Send in your photos of nifty things from your park.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I've always thought that anything is better down by the river, and this sounds like a great afternoon out for families. You can splash around in the riverwalk afterwards, take a picnic, hang out for the sunset, whatever suits your fancy. I realized a few years ago that I wasn't spending nearly enough time at the river, which is our greatest asset in Memphis, and I've enjoyed making the river more a part of my life ever since.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I went to St. Louis last year and was amazed at how beautiful the city was. Everywhere I looked the parks were manicured, there were plantings with flowers blooming, there were hanging baskets of plants all over downtown; it was a city with a welcome mat rolled out. That experience made me embarassed for Memphis and made me pine for the days of Memphis City Beautiful when we routinely won awards for how the city looked. There are a few lovely plantings in Overton Park right now, which give me a bit of hope, but I wonder how long they'll last in a city that is closing popular golf courses because of lack of funds.
I hope our new administration will recognize how powerful the visual impact a city makes can be in selling that city to potential investors and inhabitants. Maybe we can improve our green spaces and pick up our litter and attract the investors and young, dynamic workers that any city needs to survive.
Friday, July 3, 2009
The CA article is here.
Hopefully a new mayor can get a better grip on the city budget and not cut parks and public amentities that draw people to the city and make it a good place to live.
Email Parks director Cindy Buchanan to let her know if you dislike this move. Your letters give her the clout to fight for our courses.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, Shelby County Government, and Greater Memphis Greenline announced that they will by holding two public input meeting to discuss the design and management of the new urban greenway that will connect Midtown Memphis to
The meetings will give citizens an opportunity to discuss the advantages and challenges that come with greenways. National trails expert Robert Searns will be there, as well as representatives from Ritchie Smith Associates, the trail's designer. Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton and other public officials will also be there to answer your questions about the project.
The greenway—a former rail corridor being converted into a multi-use path—will stretch from Tillman Street at Walnut Grove Road to Shelby Farms Park, connecting neighborhoods and providing a safe opportunity for people to recreate, commute and exercise.
The meeting dates, times, and locations are as follows:
- July 6: Benjamin Hooks Central Library (
3030 Poplar Ave, 38111) 7pm–9pm
- July 7: Agricenter International (
7777 Walnut Grove Road, 38120) 6pm–8pm
See the photograph of him from the CA this morning under the old Hanrahan Bridge: