The Commercial Appeal
July 29, 2006
Pardon the metaphor, but the city's plans to spend $29.3 million on Beale Street Landing seem to be moving along like a tiny twig caught in the currents of the mighty Mississippi.
The Memphis Landmarks Commission recently granted one of the approvals needed for work to continue on the riverboat landing and civic plaza planned at the western end of the city's most famous street.
Although there seems to be little political will to swim upstream now, it's fair to wonder if this project should be reexamined in light of new developments.
The design for Beale Street Landing was born in 2003, back when the city's financial situation was on much higher ground than it is today.
Also, the Riverfront Development Corp. decided several months ago to give up on a land bridge that was considered the centerpiece of its master riverfront plan.
One might ask if a new riverboat docking facility is still needed under the reconfigured plan. The land bridge would have required smaller boats to dock along the historic cobblestones, which, in turn, would have necessitated moving the larger riverboats to Beale Street Landing.
Benny Lendermon, the RDC's president, still believes the riverboats need a new and improved docking facility -- and maybe he's right.
But Memphis City Council members are giving this project far less scrutiny than they did to the FedExForum.
And we all know how well that worked out.
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