Bass Pro/Pyramid Signs Up for Review

The Memphis Downtown Commission Design Review Board will review Bass Pro's sign proposal for the Pyramid, parking lots, and "Water Features and Trail Paths" on March 6 (Wed.) at 4 pm in their conference room at 114 N. Main Str., 38103

(to see full screen, click on arrows in lower left corner)

Yes, Bass Pro needs signs so that their customers can find the Pyramid, but these signs do not comply with the current City Sign Code or with the citizen-based draft for a new City Sign Code.  In great cities, aesthetics matter, and big box stores are learning how to comply and fit better in urban settings.

The March 6 meeting is open to the public or you may comment by email to Brett Roler <>; copy Paul Morris <>

Click HERE for Bass Pro's exterior sign application.
HERE for Commercial Appeal coverage.

Best Waterfront Projects for 2012

From a small beloved Waterfront Submarine Playground in Nova Scotia to a water renaturalization/ development project in Singapore, from the transformation of Malta's historic quay to New York City's Staten Island Ferry Terminal  -- there are 10 winners, 7 from outside the U. S - selected to receive the Waterfront Center's Excellence in Design Award.

click to enlarge
The Top Honor Award went to Auckland, New Zealand's Jellicoe Str., N. Wharf Promenade, and Silo Park - a project that kept the city's gritty working waterfront and made it public. Shipping crates are now seats; the street has been narrowed and a tram and plants added to give the feeling of a pedestrian boulevard. A cement silo has become an iconic Silo Park landmark, and a bio-retention wetland, passive recreation, and a weekend market are part of the mix. (images at right)

For the past 30 years the Waterfront Center in Washington, DC has sponsored the award process to recognize the best waterfront projects.  Decisions are based on a project's good design, economic feasibility, participatory planning, environmental sensitivity, provision of the maximum amount of public access, and how the project is tailored to the individuality, history, and economic climate of its community.

Click HERE, select 2012, and take a look at the winners. Be sure to read the short project descriptions & jury comments. Food for thought.

Adventure, Exploration, Learning - By Canoe Around Big Island

There's so much to learn and experience on OUR River, and John Ruskey, Mike Clark, Mighty Quapaws, and Kipp students have headed out to do just that as they circumnavigate Big Island by canoe!

Big Island is defined by the three biggest and most important rivers in the deep south - the Mississippi, the Arkansas, and the White.

Heading out from Rosedale, MS by canoe, the explorers will paddle down the Mississippi to the AR River confluence and set up a base camp for several days of natural science research and documentation in this area, full of bear, wild board, and birds.

In the next phase, the team will paddle up the AR River for 43 miles through a difficult meandering section where at times the boats will need to be pulled by rope. Base camp 2 will be in Big Island's deep woods, and part of the research and documentaion will be to find signs of the reclusive LA Black Bear, and a bird and amphibian count.

The next challenge - to find a suitable back channel oxbow lake or wetland to cross to reach the White River, and once found, to portage the canoes across. Then paddling downstream, the explorers will travel 20 miles through a remote area of the White River National Wildlife Refuge and set up a third base camp. From it, the paddlers will explore the remote bayous around which are found the giant Bald Cypress, bears, raccoons, prothontary warblers and bald eagles.

To enter the MS from the White, the team will pass through a lock and dam. Then they begin the final 25-mile leg down the Mighty Mississippi. Along the way they will visit a steamboat wreck, the Victor, and an old channel of the White behind Montgomery Island.

Follow along. For a daily update, data, and more on the mission, route, and team, click HERE.

To support this and other fantastic learning adventures, give to the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.

Principles & Goals of Chicago's Lakefront Development

  • The public will have access along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Evanston to Indiana.
  • More parkland and beaches will be created.
  • A continuous lakefront path for walking and biking will be developed along Chicago's entire 30-mile length of shoreline.
  • Greenway corridors will link to the lakefront parks.
  • The development of sustainable new parkland will help improve the Lake Michigan coastal ecosystem, including the creation of aquatic and wildlife habitat.
  • The new park construction will be sensitive to the preservation of local cultural history.
  • Planning for new lakefront parkland will consider previous and current open-space and greenway planning efforts. 

PBS Tour of Chicago's Lakefront

The story of how Chicago made almost its entire lakefront a paradise for the people.

The history, politics, habitat, architecture, beauty, and amenities of the 16-mile unbroken ribbon of public parks that line the Chicago lakefront. 1 1/2 hour long, the video is broken into 5 chapters, so you can watch on your own schedule. This is the short introduction with a link to full program.


Mississippi River Kid's Song wins Grammy

Not only did The Okee Dokee Brothers win a 2013 Grammy for their children's song, but they thanked the Mississippi River for the award. "Can you Canoe?" is about the two friends's month long canoe trip from Minneapolis downriver to St. Louis.

To get out on the River yourself, visit Quapaw Canoe Company.

So Much to Love about our Riverfront

Happy Valentine's Day

Greenprint Plan - A Map for the Future

1st Public Meeting -- Your Ideas Wanted

Tues., Feb. 19, 2013 
Memphis Botanic Gardens (750 Cherry Rd)
5:30 Open house, 6 - 7 pm Program 

 Last year Memphis received $2.6M grant to involve citizens in creating a  a Greenprint Sustainability Plan - a guide for our region on how to connect and provide accessibility using green space. It's to include parks, natural areas, bike lanes, walking paths, waterways, open space, ..., through Memphis neighborhoods, into Shelby County and surrounding areas in TN, AR, and MS.

We know it's important to protect area flood plains, floodways, and acquifer recharge areas. Could they give us a base for how to connect? Here's a map; click to enlarge.