Proposed downtown silos causes controversy

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A silo proposal is stirring up controversy in downtown Memphis, as some fear the two silos could ruin a Mississippi River view that can't be replaced.

"They're going to destroy the view from the park and from the Indian mound," said Lauren Crews.

Downtown developer Lauren Crews said he couldn't believe it when he got wind last week of a proposal by American Commercial Barge Line.

And renderings show a sight of the mighty Mississippi that could be blocked for good.

"These towers that they are proposing, they're going to tower over this bluff," he said.

Filings with the city and county show the Indiana company wants to put up two 145 foot tall silos for expanding dry cement storage.

The company said 23 smaller tanks housing a variety of products were damaged in the 2011 flood, and they're trying to grow business.

"You're standing on one of the most historical spots up and down the Mississippi River," said Crews.

But Crews and other stakeholders say not so fast.

The French Fort area houses the Chickasaw Indian mounds and is rife with Civil War history and more. The Memphis Metal Museum is next door, and leaders there are against the proposal.

"We need to preserve this as an asset. This is an Important part of our riverfront, and we should not allow something like this to happen," said Carissa Hussong, the museum's executive director.

Hussong said in recent weeks the museum has been working to inform the public about the plans and the perceived damage they could do to the natural beauty of the area.

"The silos are so big they would just be looming over the park," she said.

A spokesperson for American Commercial Barge Line declined to comment further Monday on the proposal or the community concerns, saying they would be addressed in an upcoming public hearing.

The Memphis & Shelby County Board of Adjustment will hear the proposal on April 26 at 2 p.m. It could be approved, rejected, or put on hold.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.