Memphis Greenspace Moves Forward with Park Activation Plans

January 25th, 2018

Memphis Greenspace, Inc., a Tennessee nonprofit corporation with a mission to start, strengthen and support neighborhood and community involvement surrounding park-based recreation, has announced its spring activation strategy for its current park portfolio of Memphis Park and Health Sciences Park.

“For a majority of our population, these parks were not inviting, and we want them to be for our entire community,” said Van Turner, President of Memphis Greenspace, Inc. “We’ve taken a significant and critical first step by removing Confederate statues, and now we are moving forward with our intention to reinvent the park as a valuable asset for communities and the City as a whole.”

Memphis Greenspace will first tackle infrastructure by cleaning up walkways, adding seating and trashcans, and establishing desirable wayfinding and security measures. 

“Community partners have been invaluable in setting the foundation for these parks’ futures,” said Turner. “Their immediate enthusiasm and participation reflect why Memphis is such a unique and valuable community. From programming to operations, we’re confident we can make tremendous strides as a team.”

Partner organizations include the Downtown Memphis Commission, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, and The Fourth Bluff (Kresge Foundation), who have already brought strategies and tactics to the table.

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative, for example, is working with the City and other partners on the installation streetscape improvements along Manassas, including an artistic crosswalk designed by local artists Cat and Nick Peña to lead Medical District residents, employees, students, and visitors to Health Sciences Park.

“We think it is important to provide connections for people living, working, studying in and visiting the Medical District to open space assets such as Health Sciences Park,” said Tommy Pacello, President of Memphis Medical District Collaborative. “We are excited to work with stakeholders, visitors and other partners to make even more improvements to Health Sciences Park so more people can enjoy it.” 

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The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) has confirmed a spring music series and weekly meditative arts programming—including yoga and Tai Chi—at Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park beginning in March.

“We’re thrilled to play a role in the community activation and affinity-building for these critical parks in our Downtown bookends,” said Penelope Huston, VP of Marketing & Communications for the DMC. “There is a demand for recreational and community-mobilizing programming in these areas, both for residents and tourists.”

“We are able to see and practice a much more comprehensive vision for Memphis’ riverfront now that Van and his team have lifted the barriers and unlocked a unified potential,” said Carol Coletta, senior fellow with The Kresge Foundation, who awarded Memphis a five-year “Reimagining the Civic Commons” initiative.

In order to effectively meet the needs of and amplify the parks’ presences, Memphis Greenspace welcomes financial support, community advocacy, and neighborhood investment. The community is invited to share suggestions and feedback for Memphis Park and Health Sciences Park via the comment page of Memphis Greenspace’s website.

Memphis Greenspace, Inc. is accepting financial contributions toward maintenance and operations of both the Health Sciences and Memphis Parks through its fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. To donate, visit or call 901-722-0038.

For more information, visit

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