Growing interest in the land bridge questions

Lots of people left the February 28th League of Women’s Voters (LWV) public forum with serious questions about the RDC/City plan to dam up the harbor with a “landbridge.”

Among the concerns:
  • What happens to boaters who now enjoy the harbor?

  • What about industries now in the harbor? Will they relocate in Memphis? How many jobs are involved? Who pays for their relocation?

  • The new 50+ acres of real estate that will be created on the dam for private development. How expensive will that land be?

  • The drawings show massive buildings. What will be in them?

  • As with the massive buildings proposed for the Public Promenade, what effect will all that development have on our current downtown?

  • And what about the environmental issues of water quality in the lake - and flooding, drainage, and seepage issues that will result?

Last week the media began to look at some of these questions.

An article by Amos Maki in the Memphis Business Journal took a look at industries currently in the harbor that the RDC and Dept. of Housing and Community Development want removed. Questions of relocation, cost, and loss of jobs were raised in the article. Uptown Redevelopment is moving in the harbor’s direction, and developers want 18-wheel trucks off the streets and industries out of the area. Although it wasn’t mentioned in the article, Benny Lendermon, speaking for the RDC at a LWV committee meeting, said that rezoning of the area will go to the City Council during the next three months.

Channel 5/WMC-TV followed up with a segment on the industries and how several are opposed to moving.

Tom Charlier also addressed the relocation of harbor industries in an article for the Commercial Appeal on April 22. Unfortunately, the article erred when it said that the “land bridge” will be privately financed. That is incorrect. The “land bridge” will be paid for with public money. For information, read Mike Cromer’s blog at

John Branston’s cover story in the April 22 Memphis Flyer questions spending so much City money on RDC projects like Beale Street Landing and the “grand daddy of all riverfront projects, the development of the Front Street Promenade and the construction of a land bridge to Mud Island” while the rest of our City parks go untended. As Branston says, “despite the budget shortfall that threatens schools, hospitals, and law enforcement, the flow of public money to the riverfront continues as steadily as the flow of the Mississippi River.”

The full articles are posted in the Library. Just click the link, above right in the navigation bar, to get there.