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Appreciating Park Conservancies

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Spring has sprung, and Memphians are heading outdoors for all kinds of fun activities. Maybe you enjoy Shelby Farms Park or Overton Park or the Wolf River Greenway. Did you know that each of those is a park conservancy? That’s a type of private, nonprofit organization that supports the upkeep of urban parks by raising dollars for their care.

We’re used to thinking that parks are entirely paid for out of tax dollars—but sometimes, things that "feel" public are actually supported by philanthropy. Shelby Farms Park, for instance, must raise 75 percent of its annual operating budget. That’s nearly $10,000 a day!

If you take advantage of some of our community’s awesome parks, you may want to think about becoming a paying member or donating. They can only thrive with the support of the people who value them.