Monday, March 12, 2012
The park has been in the news a lot recently. Yesterday's surprise (to me) Sunday banner headline in the Commercial Appeal was a story taking the zoo to task for having fees that are too high. This doesn't affect my world too often, but it is awfully high to take a family unless you go often enough to get the annual pass.
The worst thing, from my point of view, is that not only does the zoo park on the Greensward at will, but they're allowed to keep the $5 fee per car for their general fund instead of giving that money back to the park. Above is a satellite photo of the Greensward last season, and even from that height, you can see the damage that the parking does. Any fees coming in from parking on the park should go to the park, and not to the zoo.
Hopefully the Conservancy will figure out a way to get them a garage soon. Hopefully they will also get an easement passed to protect the green spaces of the park and ensure that the zoo won't come back in 10 years and say that the parking garage is full and that they now need to park on the Greensward again. The zoo doesn't want to spend their own money on a garage, in spite of taking over so much park money through the years. Before we hand over a garage to the zoo, a permanent, legal contract (ideally protecting the rest of the green spaces of the park as well) needs to be in place banning them from ever using the Greensward as parking again. The zoo has said that they're in favor of such an easement and has been working with Park Friends on drafts for years now, and I hope the Conservancy will put their weight behind it as well.