2007 Wrap-Up and A Look at What’s Ahead

Memphis can label 2007 “public” and “green.” Here are some highlights from the past year and a look at what’s ahead in 2008.

Highlights of 2007 - exciting programs, great partners
Smart growth and the idea of an “emerald necklace” to connect Memphis parks, neighborhoods, sites, and people gained new momentum in 2007.

* Greening Greater Memphis program and Manifesto at the Botanic Garden. Presented by Shelby Farms Park Alliance, Wolf River Conservancy, and Greater Memphis Greenline in partnership with Leadership Memphis, Smart City, and Sierra Club; sponsored by Friends for Our Riverfront, Outdoors Inc., Community Fdn., and the Riverfront Development Corporation. Click here to read the Manifesto.

* A Visionary Speaks - Charles Jordan, Chairman of The Conservation Foundation, at the Memphis College of Art. Presented by Friends for Our Riverfront, Healthy Memphis Common Table, Memphis Community Development Partnership, National Civil Rights Museum, Park Friends, Public Issues Forum, and Sierra Club. Sponsored by the Crawford-Howard Foundation.

* Project for Public Spaces “Placemaking” Workshop on the Memphis riverfront. Presented by Rhodes College, University of Memphis Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning, Memphis Heritage and Friends for Our Riverfront; Sponsored by Crawford-Howard Foundation. To read about the workshop, click here.

In addition to the programs above, a conservation easement was approved to protect Shelby Farms; Wolf River Conservancy and CSX Trails made progress; and the MS River Corridor sponsored an exciting program on water and green development by the Design Conservation Forum; and that’s just to name a few of the highlights.

What’s ahead in 2008

* PPS “Placemaking” report - We’re about to finalize a report of your comments and suggestions and PPS’s recommendations on the riverfront. We’ll keep you posted.

* Beale Street Landing -- Phase II - At the last City Council meeting of 2007, $6 million ($2,836,000 of that in City bonds), was appropriated to drive steel pilings into the riverbed and bring in landfill to create four new acres for the project. Friends for Our Riverfront unsuccessfully asked that plans for BSL include a plan for the Cobblestones so that uses and accessibility issues could be considered for the whole landing area. Although there are still some unanswered questions about the need and financial feasibility of the project, work is scheduled to begin this spring.

* Cobblestones - The City has $6million to restore the Cobblestone Landing. What’s being planned and when?
The cobblestones, which are the most complete historic landing on the Mississippi River and eligible to be considered as a National Historic Landmark site, have been neglected for years. Hopefully 2008 will be the year to start working on their restoration and active use, and public input will be step #1. A concern is that the use and need of the Cobblestones not be supplanted by a new boat dock and that the historic landing not become a walled-off, do-not-touch zone.

* Law School. Good news for downtown and the riverfront -- work should start soon on converting the Custom House/Post Office into the new University of Memphis law school. As the University moves downtown into its new site on the Public Promenade, there’s an exciting opportunity to remove parking and traffic from the grounds and to work with the community to make the area around the building a beautiful space for students, faculty, and the public to use and enjoy.

* Pyramid reuse - Still up in the air as to what and when.

New Year’s Resolution
Future events and programs are listed in “Upcoming Events” in the left-hand menu bar. Check in often to see what’s happening and how you can get involved.