Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Survey of Public parks around Cooper Young

Thank you Memphis Bloggers!
Gates, Stacey, MRC-t, JCCVI : Appreciated your suggestions and this is what the scoop is on the the parks you suggested.


I am looking for three types of settings when considering a potential location for a small skatepark. Atleast one of the three should exist.

1. Quiet and safe neighborhood park: This type of park will be well used by the smaller kids and families. Williamson park in Evergreen fits this description

2. Urban park: This park complements a small business district like CY and provides entertainment for pedestrians and cars passing by. The Peabody park in Idlewild provides this type of setting.

3. Community center park: Glenview park would fit this description. Community centers in lower income neighborhoods provide a safe place for kids of all ages. A skate park enriches existing community center activities such as afterschool programs, mentoring activities and offered classes. The community center assures that the skate park becomes a vital asset of the community. Putting a skate park in a low-income park without a community center is not a great idea. Only the hard-core older skaters will use the park and low income skaters would not have access to a community center where they could check-out boards.

The Spanish-war memorial park would not be negotiable with the Parks and Rec. It is a very visible park but it's barely big enough for the memorial. It's more like a big patch of grass. I had a hard time finding parking. Nice spot, just not big enough for a small park.

Rozelle park is quaint and small and may be a few years back ( maybe more?) this was a thriving neighborhood. The place had an abandoned feeling to it with many boarded-up neglected brick bungalows. Perhaps the neighborhood is on the upswing but I would need to visit a few more times to notice any potential turnaround that I missed with the first pass.

Peabody park
Peabody is a very cute park but it's tiny. A small skate park would fit nicely on the patch of grass nearest the Handicap school. I am guessing that the school would not be happy about losing one of their few patches of grass.

So right now I would probably favor these parks in the following order..
1. Glenview park (Orange Mound...great community outreach !)
2. Williamson park ( quaint and safe)
3. Peabody (Idlewild) ( cute and vibrant place)

Overton park next to the Zoo would be my top pick if it was available but currently this is non-negotiable with the city. What a great combo. Go to the Zoo, picnic, skate and repeat the cycle but with dinner!



gatesofmemphis said...

2 other possibilities: Binghamton Park. Neighborhood park that looks pretty active, has trees and maybe has room. Not hidden, but not high-visibility either. 2. Tobey Park. Good visibility and area, near Fairgrounds. Perhaps spoken for.

Stacey Greenberg said...

i like where you are going gates! binghampton park is next to a community center and a police precinct. councilwoman holt--is she still around?--is all about binghampton.

i also like the tobey park idea...there's baseball, volleyball, etc. there now, right? not sure how often it gets used but there is a neighborhood with lots of kids on the other side of the railroad tracks and it is in biking distance to orange mound.

peabody park is a great location, but too small i think. (also that's a community center not a school.) didn't gates once map out an adjacent area near there that would be good for an urban skate park? or does that require too much acquiring of property, etc.?

williamson park would be good too--evergreen is a nice anchor neighborhood in midtown. i wonder if the neighbors would go for it though. you would have to get the very active EHDA on board first or you'd be in for a fight.

i'm confused about glenview park as i thought it was actually in glenview, not orange mound. but i'm not good with directions.

have you driven down sam cooper lately? there's soooo much green space going to waste on the binghampton side.

jccvi said...

Glenview is not Orange Mound, though it is sort of diagonally adjacent to it. It's far closer to Cooper Young than Orange Mound. I tend to find that people's conception of Orange Mound is rather larger than the neighborhood itself.

Tobey would be a nice tie in to whatever ends up at the Fairgrounds, though whatever ends up at the Fairgrounds could also be a great spot for a big skatepark.

Like Stacey I think Binghamton Park is also a good option. I think you'd want to keep whatever goes there fairly small, as the park has a lot of greenspace that gets used for impromptu soccer games by the locals.

That said, the location is right off Poplar and Sam Cooper, and would do well with more people knowing what a nice little neighborhood it is. Councilwoman Holt is now Councilwoman Ware. Same person though.

Josh at skatepark of memphis said...

I think Toby Park would be ideal!!

Aaron said...

Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit these sites tonight.

I am showing my geographical ignorance by grouping Glenview and Orangemound as one. My apologies.

Thanks guys!

gatesofmemphis said...

Glenview Park, which I've heard a lot about but never been in, is Cooper-Young, Orange Mound and Rozelle-Annesdale adjacent.

MRC-T said...

I had this bizarre, and probably impossible idea, but I wonder if it would be possible to turn a large section of that giant parking lot at Overton Square into a skate park?

MRC-T said...

I didn't know how to classify Glenview either, and I live about a block from it. :)

Aaron said...

MRC-T: That's a great idea and actually the thought had passed my mind but I dismissed it due to the insurance issue. Unless we could get the Overton Square Business owners association to donate a portion to parks and recreation. What a great way to get that area of Midtown going again as it once was not so long ago...

MRC-T said...

fearlessvk had the idea to make the parking lot into an actual square a la "prague" and I really started thinking a lot about the parking lot since then, and then it occurred to me it might be a good fit for this project. I drive by it almost every day and I never see that lot used even close to half of its capacity. I emailed a certain reporter about who owns it, and while I didn't get the answer I was looking for, it did appear to be private ownership and that entities such as Target were targeting (ha ha, bad pun) that area for a potential store. I have also heard Target mentioned for the crosstown Sears building, but who knows what the actual story is. I wonder if you approached the owners with a plan on how the skate park could increase tenant occupancy in the overton square empty space by drawing businesses related to the sport and perhaps other businesses as a result from increased traffic and usage of the area... do you have any sort of data like this about how other skate parks improved their areas economically? It does seem that it's all driven by economic development, so if you have that kind of info, I think it would sell better. I also had some additional thoughts on how if we had a skate park (or other better use than a parking lot) and we could add bike lanes or a greenway of some sort along the length of Cooper, it would connect people from Overton Park to Overton Square to Cooper Young... but I digress a bit from your specific topic, I think. :) Just some thoughts I have been mulling over!

Aaron said...

I have been meaning to make the trip to Louisville to get a better idea of what their skate park has done for them. I did interview, via email, their PR person who gave me some pretty decent data regarding the economic impact that park has had for the area. Because the Memphis skaters are hurting so much for this amenity ( unlike California where every town has a park) the polarization of skaters to the area would be strong. That parking lot as you said is half full at best on busy nights. That would be a great Target location ( location-wise) but logistically perhaps a bit small when factoring in parking. I am willing to explore this more, I just go with where our enthusiasm is reciprocated and the impact of our project is fully appreciated. I like you digression.

MRC-T said...

Ok, I found a city GIS map, and I was able to zoom in and see numbers (parcels) on that parking lot, and the way it is divided is interesting... do you have an email address I can send the file to? I saved it as a PDF.

Aaron said...

I checked with a friend who knows the owner and my friend said that the land is far to valuable for it to be considered as a potential skate park location. Bummer.

MRC-T said...

Yeah, I guess an empty parking lot must be causing them to rake in the money (sorry, sarcasm). I didn't think they would actually be creative enough to think differently on its use, but I wish they would do something besides that damn parking lot.

gatesofmemphis said...

The OS parking lot has no value other than which it leeches off its neighbors -- the beautiful homes, the great businesses, the artistic enterprises, Overton Park.

the skatepark will create great social and economic value for any place that is wise enough to have it.

Aaron said...

As I was saying to MRC-T: My theory is that there are lot of empty lots and buildings for this reason: greedy speculation = empty lots. For example, Cafe Eclectic, Quetzals, The Cove are all super cool new places in Memphis that are built in areas where greedy speculators would overlook. Just a theory. Oh, well what can we do but keep moving onto places where we are wanted and work with people who's vision has not been blinded by personal gain. But yes, as you said, the lot is an eyesore and incongruent with the quaint surroundings. Ugh!

Naomi Van Tol said...

If you need to look up land ownership info, it's all online now:

Shelby County Register

Shelby County Assessor

Recent satellite photos and everything!

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

Thanks for the info Naomi. I'll check it out.

gatesofmemphis said...

Another possibility, downtown adjacent: E. H. Crump Park, on the bluff between I-55 and the National Ornamental Metal Museum. Beautiful setting. Even better if they were to extend Bluff Walk under bridges.

On the other side of downtown, your preferred Greenlaw Park could be ideal for mass transit access (the MATA downtown terminus is a couple of blocks away) and Uptown's resurgence and presence of a community center. Perhaps you can create tie-ins with MATA.

Shannon said...

the park near the metal museum is about to be upgraded (with a public art project too).

glenview-not in cy, but just south. there is a lot of land around the community center.

there is a good amount of industrial space (and zoned such) in cy. hmmm--might be hard to get the land due to the speculation factor.

peabody park--don't take our green running space. : )

mud island-will you be mucked up with the current lumping on the island into the pyramid project?

my best wishes are with you.