Saturday, May 31, 2008

About that parking lot...

At the recent CIP budget hearings, RDC's Benny Lendermon was asked by Councilman Jim Strickland about the controversial parking lot that is part of Beale Street Landing and consumes a portion of Tom Lee Park.

Click here to read more.Click here to listen to the 3-minute discussion (0.6 MB MP3). My transcription of the discussion follows below.
STRICKLAND: I just have two questions that just kind of fell out of the sky.


STRICKLAND: On this picture of Beale Street Landing, it looks like a parking lot has been added, close to the north side of the [Tom Lee] Park.

LENDERMON: Yes, that’s part of the Beale Street Landing project.

Click image to enlarge.

STRICKLAND: What is that parking for, and why is it needed, and when was it added?

LENDERMON: I don’t know about “added.” At one point in time there was parking underneath the building. Back when we originally started the project, we frankly were going to try to do the project without any parking down there at all. I think at the request of Council as I recall, they asked if we could have some parking down there. And finally after talking to the Meanleys, or Dale Lozier frankly, and subsequently William Lozier, we found that there needs to be some minimal amount of parking down there. So we eventually created this parking lot. It’s about 50 spaces…56 spaces. It’s going to be parking for basically the daily excursion boats primarily, and the little restaurant, maybe. It will be controlled parking which just means that’s how it will be operated. But it won’t be free. It may be free if you ride the boat or it may be free if you eat at the restaurant. But it won’t be like the other parking lot you see down there, which will be the free parking for the Park, which is 120 cars. This will be 56 cars. We feel like frankly they [Lozier] wanted 100 cars for the boats, we felt like we didn’t want to put 100 cars parking lot there. It’s just going to be a flat parking lot. It’s going to be heavily landscaped along the Riverside Drive side, if you would. It’s not going to have any curb, it’s going to have removable bumper stops so that during Memphis in May it will be just a flat piece of the park, but during the rest of the year it will function for all practical purposes as a normal parking lot. But it didn’t mean for people to gather there. I mean you’re going to pay, or either you’re going to the boats and maybe get free -- comp’ed if you ride the boat.

STRICKLAND: Memphis in May is okay with it?

LENDERMON: Yes. [They’d want] we would pave about thee fourths of the Park. [LAUGHTER]

STRICKLAND: The larger current parking lot…is that full a lot? I’m wondering if there are enough spots in there to, that you don’t need to…

LENDERMON: It’s a long long long way, okay. I mean, it’s a long ways – probably too far to walk. It depends on when it is. If it’s Saturday afternoon in the springtime, it’s packed up with cars and the police have shut it off, you know. If it’s a Wednesday in the middle of February, then there’s probably 20 cars down there. So it depends on the time. But to answer your question, we’d very much like to do that, it’s just way too far away.

STRICKLAND: That’s all my questions.

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