Monday, November 30, 2009

UrbanArt in Dalstrom Park

I got this from Elizabeth Alley: UrbanArt is hosting a dedication of the completion of the Dalstrom Park public art project
this Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 11am at Dalstrom Park (Shelby Drive & Weaver Road - Shelby Drive Entrance). The ceremony will take place at the Shelby Drive entrance of Dalstrom Park, at the trailhead to the right of the park. Both Mayor Wharton and Councilman Edmund Ford, Jr., will speak at the event.

Dalstrom Park's public art is a City of Memphis Percent-for-Art project and was a part of the Division of Park Services project to add amenities such as playgrounds, pavilions and picnic areas to Dalstrom Park. Local Artist Suzy Hendrix created artwork to both compliment and contrast the natural setting of the park.

For more information, contact UrbanArt's Elizabeth Alley at (901) 454-0474.

I haven't been out to Dalstrom Park, but I love that we're getting a few public art projects for our park system. Peabody Park's sculptures brighten my day every time I drive by, as does the funky spire in the roundabout on Mud Island. Memphis has been behind the curve on the percent-for-art program (Nashville has had art installations in its airport for years and years thanks to this program), but I'm pleased to see us getting on the bandwagon. Thanks to UrbanArt for all they do to beautify Memphis and combat the suburban, everywhere-is-the-same syndrome that happens all to often.

Mayor Wharton at Midtown Security Council

I just got an email from Peggy Williamson, chair of the Midtown Security Council, that Mayor Wharton will be speaking at their meeting Thursday evening. This meeting is open to the public, and they would like to have the neighborhood attend. You can find out more at

Speakers: Memphis Mayor AC Wharton
Memphis Police Col. Billy Garrett

Time: 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. refreshments
6 p.m. to 7 p.m. meeting

Place: HopeWorks at 1930 Union Ave.
Midtown Church of Christ basement
(enter at corner of Union and Tucker)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flyer Article about the Park

I've been out of town and haven't updated everyone on the recent developments, but Mary Cashiola has a great article in this week's Flyer. It's very hard to get people excited about storm water until they're either wearing waders in their homes or hear that their favorite park is about to be dug up, but Mary does a great job of making this issue relevant for everyone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Levitt Shell Survey

The Shell has a survey out in advance of planning their 2010 season. Fill it out and let them know what you love, what you'd love to see, and who your favorite bands are.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meeting date changed

They changed the date of the fairgrounds meeting from this Thursday to Monday, Nov. 16th at 5:30, Young Ave. Deli. They'd apparently like to keep it small instead of having a big public forum, but since I announced it here already, I'll keep y'all up to date, and it is a meeting in a public place with one of our representatives.

Fairgrounds Meeting with Councilman Strickland

There's a public meeting with Councilman Jim Strickland about the fairground plans this Thursday, Nov. 12th at 5:30 pm at Young Ave. Deli. Alex Turley in Cooper Young is concerned about the city's more recent plan for the fairgrounds (with a green space promenade, ball fields, residential, and smaller retail opportunities) and has organized this meeting to let the neighborhood voice its desires. Alex is Henry Turley's nephew, and he supports his uncle's plan, which originally had the blessing of the city before the more recent option emerged. Turley would like to build the fairgrounds around an athletic complex for regional youth sports (to complement the focus of the Kroc Center) and a larger retail component, with hotels and larger stores, ideally a Target and grocery store.

I see good things in both plans. Like many Midtowners, I would love to see a quality grocery move in (Trader Joe's would be my first choice, or a Whole Foods or Fresh Market), and I've wanted a Target for years. However, the Turley plan does not seem to allow for much, if any, free green space. His green space is planned for ball fields and other programmed activities. I love the newer plan's idea of a long green promenade from East Parkway to the Coliseum that would double as tailgating, a la the Grove in Oxford, for football weekends.

Memphis is toward the bottom of the nation on percentage of parkland in its city area. We have only 5.1% of our space devoted to parkland (a large chunk of which is in one place at Shelby Farms), where Albuquerque, N.M. has 30%. New York has 19.6%, Washington, D.C. has 19.4%, and Austin, TX has 16.3%. I'd hate for several hundred acres of publicly held land to be divvied up without any green space reserved for park space.

I was at a meeting with Henry Turley about this plan last week, and he doesn't have a full plan laid out on paper. He wants community input before making a final plan. He seemed very open to ideas about enviornmental issues such as reducing light pollution from ballfield lights and including storm water retention -- the problem with redevelopment is that Overton Park is already threatened with invasive engineering projects aimed to fix flooding in this same already-at-capacity watershed. Any plan approved has got to be environmentally sound so as not to add runoff in an already flood-prone area.

Anyway, that's my wish list. Go make your own wish list known Thursday night.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Veterans' Day Memorial

There will be a Veterans Day Ceremony sponsored by the DAR held at the Doughboy Statue this Wednesday at 11:00 A.M. (11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). If you are free, please join in this recognition of our veterans.


The Hayride was a great evening out in the park. I don't remember when I've last had s'mores (chocolate is always first in my mind), the mules were charming, and it was lovely to ride through the Old Forest in the darkness and watch the stars and the tree tops against the sky. It was my first time at the event, and apparently our rain date cut down on attendance somewhat, but it was a lovely stream of neighbors and friends. I met some great people, saw some good friends, and enjoyed the perfect November evening. Hope to see all of you out there next year.

Willy Bearden dispensed hot chocolate to the crowd.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Come out and join us this evening from 6-8 pm by the East Parkway Pavilion. We'll have a mule team pulling a wagon through the Old Forest, a campfire, s'mores, marshmallows, and a membership table where you can renew for the year or buy an organic t-shirt or canvas grocery bag. It's one of the few chances a year to be out in the forest under the stars, and the weather is perfect. Don't miss it!