Memphis Mayor presents redevelopment plan for riverside with cruise ship docks, new lake and Ferris wheel

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – City council members this week considered a proposal to dike Wolf River Harbor by creating a recreational lake, expanding the city’s cruise ship docks and possibly adding a Ferris wheel to the riverbank from Memphis.

Mayor Jim Strickland, who presented the plans as part of a presentation on the city of Nashville’s legislative priorities, said he plans to ask the state for some of the money needed for the projects.

“I think it’s time to ask big of Nashville,” he said.

The top priority, he said, is to expand the current mooring facilities at Beale Street Landing and add a second dock at the north end of Mud Island to accommodate a growing stream of cruise ships that , according to him, will want to stop in the town of Bluff on their way. descend the Mississippi.

“People are willing to pay $ 5,000 a piece to get on a cruise ship and cruise down the Mississippi. Memphis is their second favorite stop behind New Orleans, ”Strickland said. “Viking is about to enter the market, and Viking said they’ll be in Memphis once they’re on their way every day four or five years from now,”

Right now, they estimate the additional docks alone at $ 25 million. The city plans to ask the state to help it with the costs and will also ask the boat companies to help it.

The Beale Street Landing wharf opened in 2014 at a cost of $ 43 million and is undergoing over $ 1 million in renovations.

But Strickland said the wharf, which has been criticized for its cost, is already too small to handle the volume of the growing cruise ship industry, and contractors could build restaurants on the wharf and on the cobblestones nearby. Changes need to be made in “the next year or two,” he said.

Another part of the proposal would be to dike the southern end of the harbor to create a large lake for boating, swimming and recreation. He compared it to a lake in downtown Austin, Texas.

Finally, the plans show a Ferris wheel on the east side of the bank. Strickland said the city is in contact with a company that wants to set one up.

Council member Martavious Jones said he was in full agreement.

“People go to cities, people move to cities for things like that,” Jones said.

Watch the full meeting: