Earlier this month, a standing-room-only crowd of riverfront advocates and preservationists piled into the Balinese Ballroom downtown to give the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) a piece of their minds.
Many of those present weren't happy with the RDC's plan to place rough stone (called riprap) at the base of the historic cobblestone landing. Some also expressed concerns about RDC's plans to install east-west walkways leading to the river's edge. No one seemed to argue, however, with the RDC's plan to replace missing cobblestones in the historic landing.
But this isn't a new project. According to a September 2000 Flyer story by Chris Przybyszewski, "the RDC has begun supplementing the historic Memphis cobblestone walkway that lies between Confederate and Tom Lee parks with both new and old cobblestones. This $4.5 million project ... will provide a safe and attractive way to walk from the Tennessee Welcome Center into downtown and south to Beale Street and Tom Lee Park."
RDC president Benny Lendermon told the Flyer this week that the $4.5 million cobblestone upgrade is the same project under way today. Only, now the cost has inflated to $6 million.
Przybyszewski also reported that the RDC had plans to add medians, pedestrian walkways, and flashing signs along Riverside Drive. At the time, Lendermon said it looked "too much like the expressway." Those upgrades are in place today.