A nationwide backlash against the use of eminent domain followed the U. S. Supreme Court's Kelo decision. Since then a majority of state legislatures have acted to limit its use, but what's happened in New London, CT where eminent domain was seen as an economic panacea and Suzette Kelo and her neighbors fought to protect their homes?
What does this have to do with the Memphis riverfront?
When cities around the country were buying land to create beautiful waterfront parks to help revitalize their downtowns, Memphis was considering eminent domain as a tool to break the conservation easement that protects our blufftop. This plan for private commercial development of the Public Promenade was adopted by the City Council in 2004 and is still the plan of record. It's time to officially remove the plan and to envision a riverfront connected by parks and greenways to public institutions, cultural and recreational resources, and the residences, shops, and restaurants downtown.
Fort Pickering once sat here, actually the 2nd Ft. Pickering sat here.
Today an abandoned motel sits on part of the land once fortified. Dave Darnell’s photo essay in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal shows the eyesore greeting driver's entering TN via the 1949 Memphis & Arkansas Bridge.
Built as a strategic command point for the Union army during the American Civil War, Fort Pickering stretched nearly 2 miles along the south Memphis bluffs. According to archaeologist Guy Weaver, it probably extended north to Beale Street. Outfitted with 55 guns, the fort included structures needed to serve the large number of troops living in and passing through, including a hospital, rail depot, water works and a saw mill. The fort was decommissioned and demolished in 1866.
Excavation and survey of the site was done by Weavers & Associates. Click HERE for more information and photos.
Congratulations, Lisa!! Thank you for your advocacy in our community for good public spaces, clean water, and sustainable development!!
This year the Garden Club of America’s Zone IX prestigious Improvement Award was presented to Friends for Our Riverfront (FfOR) board member, Lisa Snowden, for her significant contribution to conservation in Memphis.
Lisa has served as president of Memphis Botanic Garden, president of Little Garden Club, member of the board of FfOR, and a leading force in the design of our city’s recently opened $5M children’s garden, My Big Backyard. She has shared her knowledge about national trends in good public space and park design and through her commitment and creativity has been actively involved in bringing to Memphis such noted authorities as Charleston, SC Mayor Joseph Riley, The Conservation Fund Chairman Charles Jordan, and the Project for Public Spaces.
Pyramid/Bass Pro, Fairgrounds, Beale Street Landing
Click HERE for coverage by Bill Dries for Memphis Daily News.
With stones, fabric, and light Japanese architect Kengo Kumo created a magical zen landscape in a historic quadrangle for Milan Design Week. Memphis has the zen place and the stones. What about an experimental, temporary, art light-up on our Cobblestone Landing?
When the water level in the Mississippi River goes down, it leaves behind silt, glass, trash, and driftwood. The driftwood is often mammoth and beautiful, but the trash and glass need to be removed. The silt left behind needs to be washed off, and the loose cobblestones and mooring rings should be relaid.
Many in Memphis remember seeing people at work on the Cobblestone Landing keeping it clean and in good shape. In St. Louis, the city sends a maintenance truck to their cobblestone landing daily.
The river model at Mud Island River Park got a spring cleaning. Our real riverfront deserves one, too.