MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Memphis city leaders want to spend nearly $30 million to build a new dock for cruise ships and expand the existing one on the riverfront.
The city plans to expand the current docking facility at Beale Street Landing and add a new dock at Greenbelt Park. State funding would pay for much of the project’s estimated cost.
“We are estimating about $35 to $38 million for all of our harbor docks projects. The good news is we got a $20 million allocation from the state of Tennessee to help fund this,” said Robert Knecht, Public Works Director for the City of Memphis.
The Greenbelt Park expansion would allow a second spot for cruise ships to dock. Currently, only four vessels dock here but the city expects that number will jump to nine by 2026.
The Greenbelt Park project is estimated at $6.5 million, and the expansion of the Beale Street Landing facilities is estimated at $19.5 million, according to the city’s media affairs manager Arlenia Cole.
“Everybody wants to come to Memphis, everybody wants to stop in Memphis, so that is going mean just a lot of opportunity for our sales tax and every other revenue source that we are able to obtain because of those dockings,” Knecht said.
Planners, designers, and architects were on hand at Monday’s community meeting to answer questions, but that didn’t stop people from being upset about the lack of community input and the short notice about the meeting.
“They spent thousands of dollars designing and planning this design before one community input meeting,” said Jerred Price, President Emeritus of the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
People living on Mud Island say they are not sure how they feel about opening their community opening up to more riverboat traffic.
“Having five six, seven, eight, ten buses in a row back in forth, it is challenging. It’s difficult for pedestrians crossing, it’s dangerous for pedestrians crossing,” said Shawn Danko, Mud Island HOA representative. “Why was nobody consulted, why were the homeowners and HOA on Mud Island not consulted?”
Work has not started on the project. The city is still taking community input.