MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Standing in a street in Harbor Town, Henry Turley points to the development he envisioned for Mud Island, once a silt pile off the Memphis shoreline.
The real-estate developer's vision has changed and grown since he first dreamed of building a housing development on the island. The ''new urbanism'' development offers various types of housing, from luxury homes and townhouses to condominiums and apartments.
As he takes a group of officials from Rock Island to another development, he passes through a poorer downtown neighborhood that's on his ''to-do'' list and points out where a pond will be someday -- still just a vision.
The Rock Island group, including Mayor Mark Schwiebert and Ald. John Bauersfeld, city staffers and representatives of Renaissance Rock Island, Rock Island Economic Growth Corp. and The District, saw how a vision can come to life and felt reassured that what they envision can work in the Quad-Cities.
''This is a particular niche that the city of Rock Island is well-poised to develop,'' Mayor Schwiebert said of a ''new urbanism'' development like Mr. Turley's. ''We are well-positioned to make that happen.''
Mr. Turley, a native Memphian, had a new vision for his city while others still were doing the same old thing. As suburban growth slowed on the outskirts of Memphis, he looked toward the city's decaying downtown, and Mud Island.
''With Henry Turley, you have vision meeting passion meeting deep pockets, and there is the ability to execute a vision that we may struggle with at times,'' said Dan Carmody, executive director of Renaissance Rock Island.
When he proposed a planned, mixed-income housing development for Mud Island, the city didn't get in his way but it didn't offer much help either.
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