Lendermon responds to suggestion

Click below to read Benny Lendermon's response to Joe Royer's riverfront suggestion. It leads to an idea -- 2 projects that Memphis should put on its stimulus package wishlist.

The boat ramp being discussed is on the North end, MS River side of Mud Island's Greenbelt Park.

February 6, 2009
Dear Joe:

Thank you for your continued interest in and use of the Memphis Riverfront. As you know, we value the input of all citizens and take concerns and suggestions very seriously. In fact, you and I have discussed rebuilding the boat ramp at the north end of Greenbelt Park several times before.

The Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) certainly supports the inclusion of a new launching area along the riverfront. We believe it makes sense to construct it as part of the Wolf River Greenway project, which would tie a launching ramp into the greenway.

However, the construction of such a launching area will not be as easy as you might expect. The former ramp washed out due to the instability of the river bank in that area. Nearly five years ago this same unstable soil caused major concerns for the MLG&W power lines crossing the Wolf River adjacent to the old ramp. The cost of shoring up this bank was about $250,000 back then. A similar improvement would be necessary as part of any new boat launch design and construction.

Another issue that exists is the delta that forms at the mouth of the Wolf River each summer during low water. This naturally occurring phenomenon makes the water too shallow for self-powered boats to access the Mississippi River due to the lack of depth in the water. Perhaps one way around that issue is not to allow larger boats to use this ramp in low water or maybe just build a launch area for canoe and kayak use only. Of course this restriction would still not solve the larger access issue.

The RDC is aware of these concerns and is actively looking for ways to increase and enhance access to the Mississippi and Wolf Rivers. As an avid user of the river, I take a personal interest in this issue. Certainly you know as well as anyone that I have always been a huge supporter of providing more boating access to the Mississippi River. Together, I'm sure, we'll be able to plan, design, and construct a suitable solution. It just takes time, cooperation, and funding.

Again, we appreciate your bringing this important topic to the forefront of the community discussion.

Benny O. Lendermon, III

Memphis' wishlist -- Sounds like the Wolf River Greenway and rebuilding the boat launch would make excellent projects to submit for funding in the federal government's new stimulus package.