We receive regular responses to our blog posts from a reader who always contributes to the quality of the discussion, as proven by this post to the commentary about the riverfront. We pull it from its buried position to give it the attention it deserves:
Ahhh, yes, a suburban downtown – that’s a goal worth shooting for. Our city could join the ranks of great urban areas such as Plano, Los Colinas, Tyson’s Corner, The Woodlands, Buckhead, Costa Mesa, and White Plains.
Interesting in that a conversation with reps. for the anti-RDC group Friends for Our Riverfront” gave several compelling arguments to support their case. One individual (a real estate sales rep.) cited her son renting an apartment along Front St. and noted that no one would live downtown if they did not have a view of the river (did someone say special interest?.
Foolish me, I thought people might want to live downtown because of the urban lifestyle it offered. Walking to work, local shopping, interaction with the community on a much more intimate level and such. I was also informed that parks needed to be created so that employees inside the Morgan Keegan Tower and Falls Building could enjoy their 30 min lunch breaks during the afternoon. Apparently Confederate Park and Court Square don’t count. (See personal advice given to me by one of the reps. at bottom of page.)
Did you know that there is no reason we shouldn’t have a national forest preserve downtown? According to a representative for the FFOR, there is real resentment toward the fact that downtown residents must drive all the way to Overton Park in order to enjoy a regional park. While the representatives were quick to criticize the RDC’s financing plan, they had not undertaken any serious study identifying their proposal’s costs or the willingness of the community to support the proposal. It’s also amazing how depictions of the RDC’s proposals differ wildly from the RDC website to those that the FFOR had drawn up.
Both groups seem to be telling only half-truths. However, the RDC has actually shown results with their maintenance program for the areas under their control and thus I am more willing to support their actions. If nothing else, the FFOR needs to at least attempt to be professional in this matter as opposed to the knee-jerk reaction they have displayed to date.
My real issue with the land bridge comes from the concern that locals think they can just pick and chose ideas from a plan and still expect the results to be the same. These master plans rely on all of their individual parts to be completed to realize true success.
Once again, Memphis is showing its true roots- that of an overgrown agri-town. As long as the local population continues to hold any degree of density as such a negative quality, we will not see Memphis develop as a great urban center. I could just take the advice of one of the local reps I talked to at the Cooper Young festival, “If you want to live in a real urban center, you need to move from Memphis”. Very telling about FFOR’s intentions for “our” riverfront.