Saturday, June 28, 1997

Mayor Herenton’s Riverfront Vision

Downtowner Magazine
June 1997

Memphis Mayor W. W. Herenton is answering questions about the overall plan for the Memphis riverfront Saturday, June 28, 1997 at 9 a.m. This is when he hosts "Walk the River With Mayor W. W. Herenton,” where he explains his vision of Downtown riverfront development and celebrates completion of the walkway along Mud Island.

Beginning at the north end of Mud Island, the walk extends four miles and ends at the south end of Tom Lee Park, Markers along the way explain the history and future plans for the riverfront. Buses wait at the end of the line to transport hikers back to their cars. Buses are also positioned at the halfway point for those who do not wish to complete the entire walk.

Mayor Herenton hopes the walk attracts the attention of potential Mud Island developers. He also wants to explain his vision for family entertainment venues along the riverfront and on Mud Island. "Mayor Herenton is focused on realizing the full potential of an area to be shared by all," says Carey Hoffman, Executive Assistant to the Mayor.

The Riverwalk is one part of an ambitious plan that includes preservation of the historic cobblestone landing, home of a floating boardwalk with food and non-motorized boat rental concessions, the Trolley Riverfront Loop, and the Riverbluff Walkway. A landscaped, half-mile long, ten-feet-wide biking and jogging trail with architectural lighting is also in the works. Under consideration is a 28-acre lake, enclosed by dams, featuring a 50-feet-wide vehicle access boulevard and a pedestrian walkway. The Beale Street Gateway, located where Beale Street meets the river, includes an access point to Mud Island and the Riverboat Mooring Facility. The Gateway includes a vehicle drop-off with shelter, feature signs, and a security and control point. The "village" at Mud Island, located at the southern end of Mud Island, is planned in a later phase of development. It includes themed architecture, restaurants, entertainment, retail, and lodging facilities in its half-million square feet. The total concept is designed to provide easy access from one area to the others.

Mayor Herenton's enthusiasm for the Riverwalk is shared by Hoffman. "Mayor Herenton is inviting the public to share in the excitement of the continuing renaissance of Downtown Memphis. Our riverfront is the jewel of Downtown," she says. She is quick to point out that the mayor wants any development of Downtown resources to benefit all Memphians, and not just a select group.

Entertainment plans for the event are incomplete at our press time, but the mayor has arranged for free T-shirts and free passes to Mud Island, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to be distributed at the event. Parking is available at designated areas at the north end of Mud Island. Signs will direct motorists to the parking areas.

Figure: Proposed Riverfront Development. Rendering by Hnedak Bobo Group. (Click to enlarge.)

Click to enlarge

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