Water wheel becomes face of Bolivar Hatchie River project - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Water wheel becomes face of Bolivar Hatchie River project

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

The City of Bolivar now has a face to the vision for the Hatchie River Water Trail and Hatchie Town River Park and Nature Center.

Over the course of three weeks, employees of the Bolivar City Recreation Department, Bolivar Street and Sanitation Department, and Bolivar Utility Department used recycled materials from other projects to create a water wheel at the location of an artesian well. The artesian well is located on a previously purchased piece of property by the city.

The city purchased a three-acre parcel of land on Highway 18N, and is currently developing it into the Hatchie Town River and Nature Center.

“It’s an exciting time for our city,” Bolivar Mayor Barrett Stevens said. “The Hatchie River has played such a valuable role in the livelihood and productivity of Hatchie Town and Bolivar throughout its history, but now it basically is untapped. This project will tap back into its resources and give Bolivar and Hardeman County a valuable source of tourism, and enable us to showcase one of the beautiful assets of our county, and our history.”

The artesian well runs from the existing building on the property and flows off into the Hatchie River. The structure allows city officials to control the speed of the wheel, enabling it to go faster or slower.

“In the future we hope to be able to use it to show how it can produce electricity, like the Hatchie once produced electricity,” Stevens said. “That way it will be more than just for looks, but it will be educational as well.”

The city council approved an ordinance in April allowing the city to apply for a grant that would be utilized to construct a floating boat dock at the site of the nature center. The current dock is deteriorating and damages boats. It is also covered by water when flooding happens. The proposed plans for a floating boat dock would provide a safe, efficient way for boaters to enter and exit the Hatchie River.

Since beginning the Hatchie River development project in 2015, the city has seen significant steps in achieving the vision of fulfilling the complete vision of the project. It's a vision that entails residents and visitors being able to take guided canoe trips down the Hatchie River, hiking trips, and being able to enjoy the full assets of the River, while learning of the valuable part it has played in history for the city and county.

“The Hatchie River is the only remaining, unchannelized, and unimpounded major tributary of the Lower Mississippi River Valley,” Stevens said. “We have residents as well as visitors, who are always seeing and photographing bald eagles along the Hatchie River. There are over 100 species of fish and 250 species of birds. That’s something we’re proud of and we want to showcase to as many people as we can. That’s the vision of the Hatchie."

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