Historic Overton Park in Memphis Tennessee, Melissa McMasters and Eric Bridges of the Overton Park Conservancy (Episode 112)

July 12, 2024

Located in Mid Town Memphis, Overton park is a 342 acre gem.  Established in 1902, this park is one of the rare local parks which predates the establishment of the State Park System and even predates the general  enabling authority for Tennessee cities to have parks.  Designed by George Kessler, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The park is well known as the venue for the Memphis Zoo and the Brooks Museum of Art.  Also within the park boundaries is the 125 acre Old Forest State Natural Area.

Overton Park was also the subject of a landmark US Supreme Court decision which protected the park from the encroachment of planned route for Interstate 40.

The park has recently been awarded significant funding which will allow for the  expansion of the protected forest preserve and  new hiking trails.

We talk today with Melissa McMasters and Eric Bridges from the Overton Park Conservancy.  The Conservancy is a not for profit organization charged with overall management of the park.

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About Mark

Mark Thomas Fraley is a lawyer (now retired) in Nashville, Tennessee (USA). Prior to starting law practice in 1987, Mark was active in the field of Parks and Recreation. He was the first Parks and Recreation Director for the cities of Gatlinburg and Sevierville Tennessee. He was the founding program administrator for the Parks and Recreation Technical Advisory Service (PARTAS) and served as Assistant Commissioner of Conservation and Director or Parks and Recreation for the State of Tennessee.

Mark practiced law in Nashville Tennessee from 1987 until retirement in 2017.  He had a general practice with an emphasis on Social Security Disability claims.  He was a faculty member of the Nashville School of Law ( 1997-2009) teaching the course on Social Security Law.

University of Cincinnati, 1974, Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy)
Nashville School of Law, 1983, Doctor of Jurisprudence

License to Practice Law, Tennessee Supreme Court (1983) BPR# 10448
Admitted to Practice, U.S. Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (1987)
Admitted to Practice, U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, (1994)

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