Click the "complete article" link below to read the letters to the Commercial Appeal [link] in response to last week's Hot Button question, which was:
Do you think Beale Street Landing, as designed, will attract residents from across Greater Memphis to spend time on the riverfront regularly?
I'm always frustrated and disappointed when I have clients or family and friends in from out of town and they ask me where they can go to get something to eat on the riverfront. Plus, I work Downtown, so it would be great to be able to walk a few blocks and go to a nice lunch or dinner on our riverfront. We will finally have that with Beale Street Landing!
I think the space will attract live music, which always draws a crowd. And what family wouldn't want to bring their kids down to the river for boat rides and cool places to play games?
I've longed (for the 44 years I've lived in Memphis) for more ways to enjoy the Mississippi River. I think being able to get so close to the water is the most compelling feature of this complex project. A restaurant on the riverfront that is easy to get to, family-friendly areas and many more trees are amenities that are much needed.
Has anyone even thought of the parking situation? Or the traffic congestion? Why is someone always trying to turn the Downtown area into an amusement park? And a floating dock no less.
Which brings to mind the one thing that surely would have attracted Memphians as well as visitors down to the river more often -- a casino! There are a number of examples of this that have taken Memphians and visitors a little farther down the river.
Frank B. Tate
Instead of spending 29 million taxpayer dollars on something so risky and unnecessary, why don't we spend this year's Riverfront Development Corporation budget on redevelopment of Mud Island to achieve the same goals? We already have the infrastructure in place. The river park is shamefully underutilized but already paid for.
Everything that can be done with a new expensive boat dock can be accomplished across the harbor even closer to the mighty Mississippi! Add a trolley bridge, a pedestrian drawbridge and easier access for cars via Harbor Town and we might just accomplish our goal of reuniting Memphians with the river for about a tenth of the cost.
I've looked at the four artist renderings of Beale Street Landing that were shown to City Council in May, and I now see accidents and crimes waiting to happen. There are too many places where an unattended child could get hurt or climb over a wall and go splat, or splash, below. There are too many walls, "islands" and strips of trees obstructing visibility, so that if someone was hurt or in trouble, they wouldn't be seen. Beale Street Landing is going to require 24/7 security.
I'm all for scrutinizing city projects to make sure the money is well spent, but it's time we gave the RDC a break. They have a great track record for making cost-effective riverfront improvements that help lend much-needed civic pride.
Memphians need to shed the cancerous cynicism and come together in excitement over this project.
Beale Street Landing will not only be a docking facility but primarily a place where the public can enjoy the river, regardless of the river level. The plans also include 100 new trees for shade and a green roof component, so it will only make the riverfront look better.
It will be a great way to start giving Memphians more tangible reasons to turn back to the river.
We go to Paducah, Ky., regularly on weekends. They have a community get-together called Downtown After Dinner every Saturday from May to September, with music of every variety and other activities and displays. Their riverfront has the tiers and walkways that are proposed for here. There is also a feeling of safety there, no matter where you walk.
Before our city officials spend money to draw people Downtown, they need to put the $29 million in city coffers to cover lawsuits, turn the police loose on the criminals, and allow them to clean up the city.
Until that is accomplished, no amount of money spent is going to attract people. Rape, robbery and murder have always been known to take the vibrancy out of any area.
Not too long ago, I had the experience of seeing some elderly friends who were visiting Memphis for the first time off on a riverboat cruise. It was quite embarrassing to take them down to the river and see them awkwardly try to navigate the cobblestones. We had to look at mounds of garbage that had been unloaded and heaps of luggage and supplies being loaded out in the open.
Later that same week I traveled to Pittsburgh for a meeting in the Three Rivers district. Across the river from my hotel was a beautiful riverboat landing, bustling with activity. The entire riverfront scene in Pittsburgh was beautiful, inviting and something that the former steel mill city takes great pride in. What a shame that Memphis, the city that defined river trade and entertainment in America, lags so far behind. Let's make our riverfront something to be proud of.
I believe an addition such as this is long overdue. Both New Orleans and St. Louis have vibrant waterfront areas with numerous restaurants and places of entertainment that encourage not only their own citizens to visit downtown, but tourists as well.
Oh, please. Beale Street Landing will bring the same folks as The Pyramid, Peabody Place, Mud Island, the current river park and the Madison Avenue trolley. Will the City Council appoint Joseph Lee as head of the project?
James Dean Moss