A Bridge Too Far?
To the Editor:
With east Shelby County's seemingly unlimited supply of cheap, available land and hundreds of acres of unimproved lots and decaying buildings standing wasted inside the city, how has the Riverfront Development Corporation come to the conclusion that what Memphis really needs is 50 more acres of high-dollar real estate on a landfill in the middle of Mud Island harbor (Viewpoint, April 25th issue)?
Anyone committed to the growth and prosperity of Memphis knows the riverfront needs improvement, but I don't recall any public outcry for a land bridge to Mud Island. I have yet to see any measurable public support in its favor. Still, the RDC continues to promote this unwarranted plan to provide a solution to a problem Memphis doesn't seem to have: a lack of real estate. Furthermore, who or what is expected to jump in and fill this barren new land is still a mystery. The RDC either doesn't know or isn't saying. It might be worth mentioning (without making any implications, of course) that our own Mayor Herenton, founder and chief proponent of the RDC, recently entered the development game himself with several subdivisions in southwest Shelby County.
Clearly, someone other than the citizens of Memphis stands to benefit from the land-bridge project at taxpayer expense. Who could it be?
To the Editor:
I keep reading and rereading the article about creating/developing a "lake" down on the river. I am trying to discern why it will take so many years and so many truckloads of landfill to create this, uh, tourist attraction. It surely can't be a place for local folks to take their bass boats for a Sunday afternoon troll in what will be a "dead-water" lagoon at the back door of The Pyramid.
But, if this goes through, we can give our own version of Pau Gasol's Rookie of the Year award to a tireless leader who worked hard to accomplish his goal despite the odds and with total disregard for the consequences to the taxpayer. We could call it the "Taxpayers Got Milked" award. The clear choice for winner would have to be Willie Herenton.
By the way, does he own a bass boat?
To the Editor:
The time has arrived for the city to decide if it will go forward with the Riverfront Development Corporation's master plan. A central feature of the plan is the creation of a 50-acre land bridge in Wolf River Harbor connecting downtown Memphis to Mud Island. The technical feasibility of the land bridge has come under question.
Thirty years ago, my company -- Ellers, Oakley, Chester & Rike -- recommended a similar land bridge for the purpose of providing access to Mud Island. The Wolf River Harbor would have remained functional by providing river access at the north end.
The RDC's master plan is far more comprehensive than our land-bridge concept of 30 years ago, and no attempt is being made here to judge the master plan. The land bridge, however, was technically feasible 30 years ago, and it is technically feasible today.
Projects similar to the land bridge are common along the Mississippi River. The expanded Tom Lee Park, just south of the proposed land bridge, is an excellent example.
The fill for constructing the land bridge will be dredged from the Mississippi riverbed and pumped by pipeline to the site. The Corps of Engineers performs similar maintenance dredging at the mouth of the Wolf River Harbor on an annual basis.
An excellent foundation material composed primarily of well-compacted river sand can be dredged into place within a few months. Any structures placed on the land bridge will require no foundation designs that are not already common to the Memphis area.
Once in place, the land bridge will actually serve to stabilize the adjacent Memphis bluff by providing a massive resistance to further slippage toward the river. While it might be tempting fate to characterize any construction project as routine, pumping 50 acres of sand into the Wolf River Harbor comes close.
Harry Rike, President
Ellers, Oakley, Chester & Rike, Inc.
To the Editor:
Just a note to thank the staff of The Memphis Flyer for doing such an outstanding job on the special music edition (May 1st issue). Your judges did a good job picking some very fine musicians. I would urge all Memphians to continue to support these bands as well as some up-and-coming bands: Xzhaust, Breaking Point, Sheltered Life, Rail, GTO, and many others. This is Memphis music, and your newspaper has played and continues to play a significant part in promoting it.
I would also like to give a special thanks to Saliva. The music video and title song for the Spider-Man movie are outstanding. What an honor that Hollywood would pick a Memphis band.
Thomas E. Brown
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