Tea Time @ the Tea Shop

The Little Tea Shop is a downtown cultural icon. Long the place downtowners have gathered for turnip greens and cornbread at lunch time, starting March 15, the Tea Shop (69 Monroe) will also serve afternoon herbal teas, coffee (cappucino and latte), and other goodies 3-6 pm, Monday - Friday.

Beale Street Landing - "Frozen"

… A barge crane stands like a giant sentinel at the mouth of the harbor just off the north end of Tom Lee Park. A partially completed iron dam and two red columns jut out of the water. The tip of the park is gouged and cluttered with supplies and equipment. This is the construction site of Beale Street Landing, a boat dock, restaurant, and public space scheduled to open in the summer of 2011.

The controversial project, frozen like the mighty river in January, is faced with escalating costs, pushed back timelines, and once hoped for federal funds unavailable.
Memphis Magazine's article about the project, "Frozen," is now online. Click HERE.


Test post - March 13, 2010

This is a test posting.

Save Our Treasures

Cultural tourism is important to West Tennessee and Memphis. That's one reason it's important to authentically restore our Cobblestone Landing. Statistics show that of the 10M tourists who visit Memphis in a year 81% are cultural heritage tourists who spend substantially more a day than other tourists. The jobs of 52,000 people in Memphis are directly related to cultural history tourism.

The program "Save America's Treasures" has been a driving force in the effort to protect places that tell our nation's story and one that has funded 1,100 projects, 16,000 jobs, and hundreds of millions in matched grants. Locally the Center for Southern Folklore received $210,951 through the program in 2007 to preserve the Rev. L. O. Taylor Collection of photographs documenting African American life and culture from the late 1920s to the early 1950s.

"Save America's Treasures" is on the chopping block in the federal budget.

For more info. and to get involved, click HERE.


In Memphis an Event to Celebrate on Presidents’ Day

One of President Theodore Roosevelt’s lasting contributions as our 26th president was the preservation of some of our country’s most unique natural and cultural resources. His speech in Memphis in 1907 to the Deep Waterways Convention is hailed as a milestone in the beginning of the conservation movement.

Arriving Oct. 4 on the USS Mississippi, Roosevelt landed at our Cobblestone Landing accompanied by Gifford Pinchot and WJ McGee, all of whom saw the importance of the Mississippi Valley and a network of waterways linking the U.S.

Read more »


Channel 5 Reports on BSL Status

Channel 5's Jason Miles reported Wednesday that the RDC needs millions "more taxpayer dollars to keep the controversial Beale Street Landing project afloat."

MemphisCobblestones.com blogger, Mike Cromer, clarifies the dollar amounts needed to cover the shortfall - what the RDC is asking for now ($2M) and what will surface down the road at budget time in May ($7M more).


Illustrations of BSL - Where it started, Where it is now.

Here's the location:

Here's what was there:

Here's what 2002 RDC MasterPlan called for:

Here's the design from RTN in Argentina:

Here's a model:

Here's what we're building:

Tall buildings in background are One Beale, a private hotel/condo project on hold because of the economy.

Take a virtual tour HERE.

Here's where we are now:

Photo taken 2/10/2010. Near completion of Phase 2 with Phases 3, 4A, and 4B ahead.

  • The cost has gone from $10.3M to somewhere around $37M.

  • We currently have 2 commercial boat landings:

#1 Cobblestone Landing - serves our local riverboat excursion company

#2 Boat landing at Mud Island River Park - closed.

Do we need/can we afford a 3rd?


Good Government - a 2-way Conversation

At City Hall there's a new commitment to transparency and to government's role of serving and representing citizens. To work it requires two-way communication, and that means it's our responsibility as citizens to enter the dialogue - to let our government officials know our thoughts, needs, and priorities. They can't listen unless we talk.

Here are the e-mail addresses for Mayor Wharton and the Memphis City Council. Just click a name to send an e-mail or copy and paste the e-mail address in your own e-mail server.


Emerald Necklace not just a Dream Anymore

Yesterday Mayor Wharton, Congressman Steve Cohen, Councilman Bill Boyd, Park Services Director Cyndy Buchanan, Lauren Taylor of the Hyde Fdn., and Hugh Fraser president of Wolf River Conservancy were all on hand, symbolic shovels in-hand, for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Wolf River Greenway Trail.

The cold weather couldn’t dampen the excitement. Smiles were on every face to celebrate the beginning of what will be a 22-mile greenway connecting parks, neighborhoods, and cultural amenities from Collierville to the Mississippi River.

A huge thank you to all whose efforts over a long period of time have made this possible!!

Click HERE for a short, beautiful journey down the Wolf River.

Click HERE for photos of the groundbreaking.

EPA & State sue Memphis for Dumping Raw Sewage in River

On Monday the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of TN filed a suit in federal court seeking injunctive relief and damages from Memphis for discharging untreated sewage into area waters. The suit, reported by Andy Meek in The Daily News, alleges that the city’s Public Works Dept. has been discharging pollutants from the city’s sanitary sewer system and two wastewater treatment plants into area waters. It's a problem that demands quick attention and brings new costs and stiff penalties to the already stressed city budget.

Read more »

B$L - Numbers in Disarray

Time to call a "time-out", get independent audit and analysis!

Sports fans all know that a time-out is a good thing - a chance to see what's working, what's not working, and make adjustments. Memphis definitely needs one on the riverfront.

The numbers are in disarray. They keep changing and the city's share keeps going up. No one is clear what's been spent, what the earmarks are actually for, or what contracts have actually been signed. And no answers have been given to the important questions about paying for future maintenance and operation of the boat dock.

May 2009 Hand-out to City Council during budget hearings showed:

Total estimated cost of BSL - $33M
City’s share: $22.3M
$ 7.4M City money spent
$ 3.6M State money spent
$14.9M City money, not yet spent
$7.9M Federal money, not yet spent
(Click image at right to enlarge hand-out)

Dec. 13, 2009 Commercial Appeal reported:
$8.9M additional funding request to City as a result of $8.2M in cost over-runs and $1.4M reduction in federal funds.

Based on those numbers, it looks like the design and construction cost of BSL is now around $41.3M, with the City’s share at $31.2M. And that doesn't include what we'll have to pay to operate and maintain the boat dock if it's built.


Vibrant Riverfront for Less

A letter-to-the editor at the Commercial Appeal had
5 good suggestions for how to reduce the cost of BSL and get more bang for the buck on the riverfront.

Check them out HERE and share your ideas. Several comments so far: make it a deck not a dock; get rid of the “pods/islets” and put a playground at the N. end of Tom Lee Park; convert it to a skate park; make it a plaza with food vendors.

You can add your comments at MemphisCobblestones.com or e-mail your suggestions to us at info@friendsforourriverfront.com

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"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

And the perfect day to stay inside and
read John Branston's "Frozen" in February's Memphis Magazine.

In fact, don't miss it!! It sheds some much needed light on the controversial Beale Street Landing and raises questions that need attention before the City decides whether or not to sink more money into the boat dock. Brandon Dill's spectacular photos capture the immensity and power of the winter Mississippi. For non-subscribers, the magazine should be just-out on the newsstands or coming soon.


2 FfOR Board Members Profiled on City Beat

June West, Executive Director of Memphis Heritage, and Virginia McLean, both founding members of FfOR, were profiled in the Flyer's City Beat as preservationists to be reckoned with.

Preservation is not about protecting old buildings as relics; it's about saving our significant places for present and future use. At the core of new urbanism and smart growth, the preservation movement is about revitalizing our cities and neighborhoods as places people want to be and live. It's why people advocate for protecting the Old Forest, the Cobblestone Landing, the fabric of downtown, and neighborhoods citywide.

Hooray for the work and voices of a long list of Memphians, men and women! Today Memphis retains an authenticity and vitality that is the envy of many cities who have lost their sense of place to the wrecking ball and short-sighted decision making.

Read more »


Opportunity to Protect Old Forest

Great news from Citizens to Preserve Overton Park: Rep. Jeanne Richardson and Sen. Beverly Marrero have sponsored legislation that will provide legal protection to the old growth forest of Overton Park!

Citizens to Protect Overton Park (CPOP) is asking that Memphians stand up for the Old Forest by writing letters supporting the bills, SB 2415 and HB 2563. Click HERE for more information and the names and e-mails of those to contact.