The Cossitt - "Investing in a Sustainable Future"

"To be recognized globally as the city of choice in which to live, learn, work, and recreate" is stated as our City Vision on the cover of this year's CIP Overview booklet. It says we are "Investing in a Sustainable Future." So how does closing our libraries fit with this vision?
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2009 CIP budget – RDC requests

The RDC is asking the City Council to approve $33.4 million dollars for their capital projects in the years 2009-2012. The projects are Beale Street Landing, the Cobblestone Landing, Mud Island Maintenance, and a new Confederate Park – Law School project.

Click here to see the RDC’s CIP budget request.

To pay for these and other capital projects and to pay for operating expenses, the Administration has said they will need to raise taxes. The City Council currently is reviewing the budget. If you would like to contact Councilmembers, contact information is given at the end of this article.
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Council to look at $ for Beale Street Landing

Beale Street Landing(BSL) started out as a $10M idea to do something special at the foot of Beale Street. Since that time it has morphed into a $29.M public project.

Its need, cost, design, and intrusion into Tom Lee Park for land and parking are questioned by many. Project designers and proponents, on the other hand, describe it as "terraced islands descending to the river" and avoid questions about whether its real purpose is to serve as a boat dock for a "water taxi" to Tunica.

Since its inception, BSL has been controversial. Construction is scheduled to begin on landfill for the project this July and funding for other phases is currently being reviewed by the City Council.

Here are some links to information about the project and the continuing debate.
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Cobblestone Landing Plan Needs a Fundamental Change

A small group of “stakeholders” met with the RDC to discuss a “restoration” plan for the Cobblestone Landing. It’s all preliminary we were told. The plan, however, has been sent to the TN State Historic Preservation Office for consideration and a request to approve funding is in this year’s CIP budget.

For a long time the Cobblestone Landing has been neglected and allowed to deteriorate, so it’s good news that there’s a plan in the works and $6M on hand for the project. But this plan is not what most people have been expecting. It needs careful review and a fundamental change.
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Wetlands will go if landfill starts

With approval from the Memphis Landmarks Commission and the Center City Commission Design Review Board, the RDC appears ready to begin clearing the wetlands at the foot of Beale Street and adding 50’ of land out into the harbor for Beale Street Landing (BSL). This is Phase II of the project and according to newspaper articles a contract has been signed to begin Phase II.

BSL was described to the Design Review Board as a welcome mat for the City, a park of landscaped terraces and islands. Elizabeth Langston, who lives near the river, spoke before the Landmarks Commission and showed a picture taken just that morning of the cobblestones and wetlands that will be destroyed. With the fresh image of Old Forest trees cut to make way for the Zoo, one can’t help but think we’re seeing the same kind of hypocrisy on the riverfront and the real replaced by a synthetic replica.

Elizabeth has posted a new website Save Our Wetlands.
Click here to take a look and get involved.

Placemaking report on Memphis riverfront now available

"A fresh look at the Memphis Riverfront," a placemaking exercise led by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), brought Memphians together to gain insight and brainstorm about ways to make seven public spaces along the riverfront more celebrated, more enjoyed, and more valued.

A report on the suggestions from the workshop is now available.
Click here to read/download a copy.(5 MB, Adobe Acrobat).

The report is divided into two sections. The first compiles the ideas from the people in our community – what they saw and their comments. In the second section, PPS drew from their experience and the citizen comments to make short and long-term suggestions.

The March 2007 placemaking workshop was presented by Friends for Our Riverfront, Rhodes College Urban Studies Program, University of Memphis Planning and Zoning Institute, and Memphis Heritage. It was sponsored by the Crawford-Howard Foundation.

We hope you will enjoy this report and invite your suggestions and involvement.
Click here to let us know what you think.

Click here to learn more about the Project for Public Spaces.

Walk the River with Jimmy Ogle

Jimmy Ogle knows more about the historic eccentricities of downtown than most of us could learn in a long lifetime. Right now he is delighting those who turn up for his lunchtime walking tours.

The first tour focused on sewer drain covers, the second on the Mississippi River. His third,"The Mississippi River - The Land" will be Monday, May 19 and will focus on land along the riverfront.
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