Downtown, Memphis In May and Mud Island

July 30, 2019

 

Downtown, Memphis In May and Mud Island

 

I have lived in Memphis all my life, born and raised here and love the City. It is beautiful, livable and poised for a great future. I worked for over 40 years in the downtown area (south Memphis) and ate lunch downtown several times a week.

 

After retirement I do not go downtown as much as I used to. However I went downtown recently on a visit to look at the areas that are now in active dispute, Tom Lee Park and Mud Island. In the interest of full disclosure, I have children who actively participate in the barbecue festival, and they love it.

 

I drove down Poplar and went to the Mud Island parking area over the bridge and around the circle. I noted the huge number of apartments on my left as I drove south to Mud Island. I first saw the structure shown below and wondered what is was. I was later told it was the structure that used to hold the Memphis Belle World War II famous bomber which is now at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio.

http://www.memphisshelbyinform.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/IMG_0363-1.pdf

 

 

Then I drove on to the parking area which had many warning signs that I had to pay to park and I only had to text a number and then enter another number to pay. I eventually just parked and said the hell with it and walked to the entrance to the park.

It was a beautiful day and there were a few kids and parents and no problem with crowds. I was amazed at the beautiful buildings that comprise the park and how much money we have spent on this investment. It is beautiful, unique and totally underutilized. What is the solution?

 

My immediate thought is why not build a parking facility where the Memphis Belle structure is to make visits easier. Provide golf cart type electric vehicles for those who do not want to walk. Put casual eating and drinking facilities along the way with views of the river. For elegant dining reopen the beautiful restaurant that is already there. Repair the tram that I understand is now inoperative. The key is making it easy and fun for people to come and enjoy Mud Island and the river.

 

But there is possibly a problem and that is the split between north and south Memphis. The dividing line is Monroe and Front. In my Father’s Day as he grew up in South Memphis he said it was worth your life to cross Poplar and date a young North Memphis lady. He survived and so will we.

 

After my visit to Mud Island I drove down to Tom Lee Park and noted the wasted investment in the riverboat landing with its red ugly circular spiral and money losing useless restaurant. Surely we can come up with a plan that unites south and north downtown Memphis interests and allows the Barbeque festival and Beale Street interests to prosper and also bring back the large Mud Island investment to its initial bright goals without bankrupting our great City.

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