More funding needed for Beale Street Landing project

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Developers said Wednesday that they need more taxpayer dollars to keep the controversial Beale Street Landing project afloat.

The rising Mississippi River interrupted work at the end of Beale Street weeks ago, but the lack of funding could keep completion of Beale Street Landing from coming anytime soon.

Benny Lendermon with Riverfront Development Corporation said millions are needed to keep the project going.

"Two million dollars, frankly, is what we're looking for to keep this project going and not slow down any construction," Lendermon said.

Lendermon, the landing's biggest cheerleader, said he is looking forward to his grand vision of a connection to the river.

"You can't name another waterfront or riverfront city in the world that doesn't have that," Lendermon said.  "We just don't."

Lendermon said Congress cut millions of federal dollars for the project.  He said he hopes the city council will make that up.

"You don't have money, you can't build anything," Lendermon said.

The project is already over budget by nearly $9 million, from an initial projected cost of $27 million to around $35 million now.

Michael Cromer is a longtime critic of the project and even writes a blog about the preservation of the riverfront.

"The river is the destination," Cromer said.  "We don't need to create a destination on the river to get people there."

Cromer urged the council to withhold further funding.

The Riverfront Development Corporation is working with Mayor Wharton's office to come up with a funding plan.

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