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Riverfront Website Eliciting Response

Riverfront Website Eliciting Response


The Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) has a website ( that features “pollin’ on the River,” an interactive newsboard that allows visitors to make their voices heard in matters relating to the development of Memphis’ “Big Muddy” western border. Mayor Willie Herenton entrusted the RDC to develop the riverfront with the help of both professional consultants, namely Cooper-Robertson & Partners of New York and Civitas, Inc. of Denver, as well as Memphis citizens. While the RDC expects the entire analysis for the river to take roughly nine months, the non-profit organization says that the consulting firms will complete the first stage of the river plan by Oct. 19th. The message board is set up into eight sections, each addressing a specific area on the riverfront. For example, one popular section is the “Mud Island River Park” newsgroup. Visitors are asked to answer questions like “What is special to you about Mud Island?”; “How do you feel about being at Mud Island after dark?”; and “Would you show Mud Island to an out-of-town visitor?” However, controversy can also be a part of the discussion. Recently, some visitors have expressed concern over the RDC’s decision to work on the cobblestones between Tom Lee Park and Confederate Park. These decisions came before the input from citizens was made possible through the website and comes well in advance of the consultant companies’ date of completion of the first stage of the river plan. However, Benny Lendermon, President of the RDC, stresses that such measures will not affect the overall scope of the river project. On the website, he posts, “Coopers and Robertson felt the project would provide immediate benefit and be appropriate with any conceivable future plans they might develop.” The forum also allows some less-serious discussion as well. Recently, there was a suggestion that the famous Memphis bridge with its tell-tale ‘M’ should be lit up in more impressive colors such as red and green or blue. Lendermon’s response was, to say the least, interesting. According to Lendermon, red and green lights are used by the Coast Guard as navigation lights and are thus prohibited. Blue bridge lights are prohibited by the FAA because landing strips at airports use blue for run-way lights. Lendermon quips, “Just think, a 747 landing on the Memphis Bridge.” (You can write Chris Przybyszewski at

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