Proposed Silos Could Obstruct Well-Known Mississippi Vista

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This rendering was commissioned by Lauren Crews, owner of the Marine Hospital. Crews said he felt that the rendering provided by ACBL did not provide a complete representation of the silo's visibility. - COURTESY OF LAUREN CREWS
  • Courtesy of Lauren Crews
  • This rendering was commissioned by Lauren Crews, owner of the Marine Hospital. Crews said he felt that the rendering provided by ACBL did not provide a complete representation of the silo's visibility.

French Fort area residents and institutions are raising concern over two proposed silos that they say will pierce the skyline and interrupt one of the most well known vistas of the Mississippi River.

One of the nation's largest marine transportation companies, American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL), is seeking a zoning variance from Memphis' Board of Adjustments in order to construct two cement silos that top out at 145 feet in height. The current height allowed for the zone is 60 feet.

The silos would be built adjacent to Chickasaw Heritage Park, where historic ceremonial mounds leftover from the indigenous Chickasaw nation offer an unobstructed view of the Mississippi River.

As the Metal Museum's executive director, Carissa Hussong, works next to Chickasaw Heritage Park and can speak to the daily use of the park by tourists and Memphians alike. She acknowledges that, if constructed, the silos will interfere with the view from the museum, but not nearly as much as the view from the ceremonial mound. 
This rendering of the proposed silos shows the altered view from Metal Museum Drive, facing south. - COURTESY OF THE METAL MUSEUM
  • Courtesy of The Metal Museum
  • This rendering of the proposed silos shows the altered view from Metal Museum Drive, facing south.

"I've seen buses of tourists stop by just to take in the view. People come here every day to eat lunch in the park, or watch the sunset," said Hussong. "Having those silos built would completely change the feel of the area."

A Facebook page alerting the public to ACBL's plans has already drawn comments from area residents who are concerned not only about the obstructed view, but about potential impact the punctured skyline could have on development and home values.

Traci Rector Hamersen commented, "The French fort neighborhood will lose even more value and future development capability with this build. Surely there are spots north or south on the river less than a mile in either direction that they could mount these giant bins."

Hussong also expressed concern about property values, but noted that as of now, it's the ambience and character of the area that is most concerning.

"We respect the company's right to invest in their property, but we think they need to do so with regards to existing regulations," said Hussong. "This would take away from a Memphis asset that benefits everyone."

The Memphis Flyer  has reached out to ACBL for comment, and this story will be updated with additional information as it's made available.

The company's hearing at the Board of Adjustments is scheduled for April 26, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N Main St, room 468.




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