Q: Who changes the numbers on this sign?

An e-mailer spotted this photo by Michelle Clayborne on the blog http://www.memphistanista.com/ and wanted to know more.

A: The sign, on the Bluffwalk just N. of Vance, shows the water level of the Mississippi River at Memphis. The Corps of Engineers provides the information and hires someone to post the levels for boaters. Daily river levels also are posted in the "Commercial Appeal" on the weather map page, a reminder that the Mississippi is the most important river in N. America and a transportation artery for inland America.

Check-out http://www.memphistanista.com/for more great photos of Memphis. And if you have information to share or questions about the riverfront, e-mail us at info@friendsforourriverfront.org, and we'll try to get an answer for you.

Is Memphis Drinking Water in Danger?

Proposed projects in Fayette County are being reviewed by the TN Dept. of Transportation (TDOT) and the TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). Public meetings to learn more and participate in the decision are scheduled at Collierville Town Hall, 500 Poplar View Parkway:
Aug. 2 (Mon.), TDOT meeting, 5 pm
Aug. 3 (Tues.), TDEC meeting, 6 pm

Ground Water Protection: Chickasaw Group, Tennessee Sierra Club Position
By Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.
Environmental Sociologist
Read more »

Memphis Preservation Plan being Updated

There’s an update underway for the 1997 Memphis Preservation Plan. More than 40 volunteers are doing the legwork and taking the plan to neighborhoods for their input.

Part of the Plan is to have a new online database of historic and culturally significant properties. As Nancy Jane Baker, manager of the Memphis Landmarks Commission, said, this is an informational tool to define what places and buildings are important to the community, and we want citizens to tell us about places in their neighborhoods that should be included.

Making Memphis a better and more livable city is the over-arching goal. As Mayor Wharton said, “It is our distinctive assets, the culture and character authentic to Memphis, that are the basis of our competitive advantage.”

Neighborhood Meeting dates, times, locations: Read more »

Summertime Thoughts - McKellar Lake

With Memphis temperatures hitting the 100s, thoughts turn to McKellar Lake in its 1950s and '60s heyday. Read more »

Can High Line be Model for Memphis Public Promenade?

The High Line is NYC's great new promenade - an elevated rail line once slated for demolition but now creatively reimagined as public space. It has become a catalyst for redevelopment.

In an interview, landscape architect James Corner, who through his American arm Field Operations brought the project to fruition, sees the High Line as a model for other cities.

"High quality design of public spaces isn't something that comes after the fact, but is something we invest in now in order to spur significant economic development and to ensure a high quality of urban life."

Click HERE for the video.

Bike Lane Decision for a More Livable Memphis

A commitment to 55 miles of bike lanes within the next 24 months and hiring "our region’s first Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator, who will be responsible for expanding on these plans to connect even more parts of the greater Memphis area with walking and biking paths." From Mayor Wharton - a big step toward a better, more livable Memphis!

"Even though bike lanes were regrettably omitted from the city’s recent stimulus fund application, I have directed our City Engineers to make any necessary adjustments to their operating budget plans so we can get these lanes and facilities in place." Click HERE to read Mayor Wharton's full statement.

With thanks to Brad Christian, Here's a map that shows where they will be.

View Proposed Memphis Bike Lanes in a larger map

Ideas from Atlanta for Center City Commission Luncheon

Shirley Franklin, the 1st African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major southern city, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Center City Commission luncheon. Ms. Franklin served as mayor of Atlanta from 2002 to earlier this year and is credited, among other accomplishments, with the development of Atlanta's park and trail system, an anti-homeless initiative, and major repairs to the city’s ailing sewer system.

Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Peabody Hotel Grand Ballroom
11:30 am - 1:15 pm
Cost: $65. Click HERE for more info. and to make reservations.

Endangered Terns Find Unusual Memphis Home

TVA’s Allen Fossil Plant is a spot on the riverfront most Memphians don’t visit, but interior least terns have made it their home this year. David Thorpe, TVA’s environmental program administrator, and Doug Keeling, manager of the Allen plant, have been watching over the nests. Click on map to enlarge.

Tom Charlier reported on the unusual situation for the Commercial Appeal. Click HERE for the story.

Get the Facts & Add your Suggestions - Charter Commission Public Meetings

The proposed charter for a new metro government for Memphis and Shelby County includes setting up a department of Public Amenities, Conservation & Betterment to manage countywide parks, recreation, and amenities like the Zoo and Brooks Art Museum and a combined Planning and Community Development Department to focus on neighborhoods, sustainability, and smart growth.

Public meetings are scheduled for citizen input:

* Thursday, July 8: Memphis Botanic Gardens, 5:30-7
* Thurs., July 15: Southwind High School (7900 E. Shelby Dr.), 5:30-7
* Tues., July 20: Methodist South Hospital Auditorium (1300 Wesley Dr, Whitehaven), 6 pm
* Wed., July 21: Harrell Theatre (440 W. Powell Rd., Collierville), 6 pm
* Thurs., July 22: Ed Rice Community Center, (2907 N. Watkins Str.), 5:30-7

The charter must be completed and filed with the Election Commission in August for a Nov. 2 vote.

Pyramid/Bass Pro/Pinch Gateway Project

Bass Pro signed a 55-year lease for the Pyramid on June 30 which will commit the City to providing $60M for the project. The lease agreement is available online HERE.

Details about the project and its "swamp" theme were presented to the City Council this week. Click for news coverage by Commercial Appeal , Daily News, and Downtown Neighborhood Association Newsletter.

“We’re at a point where it appears to be that … we’re resolved that we are going to do this,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said at the end of the Council meeting.

Here are concept drawings that show the Pyramid/Bass Pro conversion and redevelopment of the Pinch area.Read more »

Before the 1st Bridge at Memphis

Before the Frisco Bridge spanned the Mississippi at Memphis, rail cars were ferried across the river. A friend sent this photo of where he believes the cars were loaded and unloaded.

125 years ago, 1885 -
From the Commercial Appeal “Mid-South Memories"
A ferry boat is shortly to start running from West Memphis across to Beale and touching at the foot of Jackson. The 50-cent fare will be well worth the price to railroad passengers coming to Memphis on the Kansas City line since they will be able to get to Memphis via the ferryboat much sooner than if they wait for the transfer.