Friday, March 5, 2010

WREG-TV: Memphis Riverfront Project Hits A Snag

WREG Channel 3 has a report on the stalled Beale Street Landing project, with its hole and "mountain of dirt".

Continues...

Memphis Riverfront Project Hits A Snag
Part Of The Beale Street Landing Project Is Temporarily Put On Hold

Alex Coleman, WREG-TV
March 5, 2010


Fast Facts
* -Beale Street Landing Project Creates An Eyesore
* -Riverfront Project Runs Into Financial Problems
* -Developers Say Funds Will Be Found & Delays Won't Impact Memphis In May

No, it's not as as large or certainly not majestic like Mount Everest, but it's so big that it caught Cathy Norman's attention when she walks through downtown Memphis.

Norman said, "Yeah, it's not very attractive, so I'd like to see it finished or something done with it."

For some people who jog and walk along Tom Lee Park, a massive mound of dirt isn't the welcome mat they want to greet them.

Tracy Thompson works downtown and jogs in the area. Thompson said, "Actually it does bother me. It's been here for a year or so. So maybe they can level it and put grass or something on it for now."

Jamie Douglas also comes to Tom Lee Park for exercise. Douglas said, "I feel whatever it is they're doing they need to hurry up and get it over with."

It is the Beale Street Landing Project. It's designed to connect Memphis to the Mississippi River with boat access, improved park features, and even a restaurant, but it hit a snag.

Benny Lendermon is the president of the Riverfront Development Corporation.

Lendermon said, "It's no secret the landing has long term funding issues and there's a shortage of funds and we're working with the (mayor)Wharton Administration and try to look at how we deal with it in the future and allow our project to continue on and be constructed."

The project ran out of federal funding with about 8 million dollars worth of construction still needed.

Lendermon said, "There needs to be two million dollars additional funding that doesn't exist now to allow the contractors to keep working and not shutdown the construction project. If you shutdown the construction project costs go up."

But will the delay and the sight of the mountain of dirt impact Memphis in May this year? Festival organizers declined to be interviewed for this story Friday, but Lendermon says he's talked with them.

Lendermon said, "We met with Jim Holt and some of his board members this morning. There is nothing this year that affects the park any more than the park was affected last year. Yes, part of the park was taken away on the North end just like it was last year."

Lindermon says he's confident the project will get the necessary funding and will meet its 2011 completion target and the show will go on for Memphis In May.