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Riverfront Cobblestones - URGENT SUPPORT NEEDED

Dear Friends of Memphis Heritage and Historic Preservation,

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers recently released a public notice which we have copied below, regarding a proposed plan of work for the historic cobblestone landing on the Memphis riverfront. We encourage you to read this notice and to pay particular attention to the description of work. This work includes restoration of damaged and poorly maintained areas of the cobblestones, which is needed. However, it also includes other changes to the cobblestones which could potentially detract from its historic authenticity and impair its use as a public boat landing, including:

construction of three 10' concrete walkways across the cobblestones from Riverside Drive to the water; and
construction of a sidewalk and rip rap embankment along the entire western side of the cobblestone wharf.
These changes have previously been explained as necessary for pedestrian access and to stabilize the cobblestones. Unfortunately, they could also have an adverse effect on the site's historic authenticity and on its continued use as a public landing to access the river.

This project will be funded with federal grant funds, and therefore is subject to federal environmental and historic preservation regulatory reviews. As part of this process, it is critical that the citizens of Memphis have the opportunity to give input on the plan.
In short, the project plans should be presented to the public in a public hearing. However, the notice makes it clear that a hearing will be held at the discretion of the Corps of Engineers-it is not a given.

We urge you to write or e-mail the Corps of Engineers requesting a public hearing so that the project plans can be presented and discussed by concerned citizens and stakeholders.
The name, address and e-mail where your comments can be sent are provided in the public notice. We have also provided a simple letter below at the bottom of this email, requesting a hearing which you can copy and modify to express your own viewpoint on the project and either mail or e-mail by the due date, May 6, 2009

Thank you for your dedication to preserving our past for future generations!


June W. West
Executive Director
Memphis Heritage, Inc.

Public Notice Corps of Engineers

REPLY TO ATTN: Mitch Elcan
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 167 North Main Street, Room B-202 Memphis, Tennessee 38103-1894 Telephone: (901) 544-0737 Fax (901) 544-0211

PUBLIC NOTICE NO: MVM-2009-093(jme)

AUTHORITY: Pursuant to 33 CFR 325, as published in the Federal Register dated November 13, 1986, this notice announces an application submitted for aDepartment of the Army permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.

APPLICANT: Mr. John Conroy AGENT: Mr. Robert Kurtz
Riverfront Development Corporation Tetra Tech, Inc.
22 North Front Street, Suite 960
65 Union Avenue, Suite 300
Memphis, Tennessee 38103 Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 312-9190 (901) 523-9500

LOCATION: The project is located on the east side of Wolf River Harbor, west of Riverside Drive, north of Beal Street Landing and south of Jefferson Davis Park in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee at approximate latitude 35.14472° and longitude -90.05639° on the USGS Northwest Memphis, Tennessee
7.5 minute quadrangle map.
PURPOSE: The purpose of the project is to restore the historic Memphis Cobblestone Landing, providing for long term preservation, improved public access and to add interpretive enhancement.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK: The applicant proposes to protect and improve the Memphis Cobblestone Landing by stabilizing the bank at the base of the cobblestones, repairing the cobblestone field, adding walkways and staircases to enhance public access and removing above ground utilities. Bank stabilization is needed to protect the cobblestones from future damage caused by wave action and dredging in the Wolf River Harbor, which has led to slippage of the cobblestones into the harbor.
Repairs will be accomplished by removing extraneous concrete and asphalt that has been placed over cobblestones; removing silt; filling in large depressions and eroded areas in the cobblestone field; adding runoff and erosion control features; and repairing and restoring cultural features such as mooring rings and the river gage.
Pedestrian access will be improved by adding stairs and walkways that extend from the top of the cobblestone field to its bottom and along the western edge. The walkway along the western edge will provide an accessible path from Jefferson Davis Park on the north all the way to the new Beal Street Landing. Additionally, above ground utilities will be removed and replaced with underground systems and interpretive signage will be added to educate the public to the historical significance of the area.
To accomplish this, approximately 14,800 cubic yards of sand and silt material will be hydrology dredged from below ordinary high water along the length of the project (approximately 2,200 linear feet). This material will be discharged via a floating pipe downstream of the Wolf River Harbor into the Mississippi River. Approximately 8,650 cubic yards of clean earthen fill will then be placed to stabilize the slope. The proposed north-south walk to be constructed along the western edge of the Memphis Cobblestone Landing will be astructural concrete slab with supporting foundation. To stabilize the edge of the cobblestone field, the foundation wall will be installed along the top of the bank and extend down to geo-technically stable soil. This sidewalk will frame the cobblestones to the east and prevent the soil from degrading, stopping the cobbles from being carried into the Wolf River Harbor. To the west of the foundation wall and walk section, riprap will be notched into the bank's 3:1 slope to protect the bank from washout associated with continued riverboat operations and erosion. The overall quantity of riprap being placed is approximately 7,700 cubic yards.

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: The applicant should contact the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Water Pollution Control (TDEC) at (615) 532-0713 or TDEC, 7th Floor L. & C. Annex Building, 401 Church Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37243-1534 and request water quality certification. This certification or evidence of this water quality certification or waiver of the right to certify must be submitted prior to issuance of a Corps of Engineers permit. The Department will consider all relative comments in the decision to grant or deny water quality certification for the proposed activity. The Corps of Engineers' evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promUlgated by the Administrator, EPA, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: No endangered or threatened species, or their critical habitat, are known to exist in the project area. This application is being coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Any comments they may have regarding endangered or threatened wildlife or plants, or their critical habitat, will be considered in our evaluation of the described work.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Memphis District will evaluate information provided by the State Historic Preservation Office, Federally-recognized Tribes, andthepublicinresponsetothispublicnoticeandwemayconduct, orrequireasurveyoftheprojectarea.Apreliminaryin-houserecordssearchindicated that the cobble-stone landing is part of the Cotton Row Historic District.
FLOOD PLAIN: In accordance with 44 CFR Part 60 (Flood Plain Management and Use), participating communities are required to review all proposed development to determine if a flood plain development permit is required. Flood plain administrators should review the proposed public notice and apprise this office of any flood plain development permit requirements.
PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW: The purpose of this public notice is to advise all interested parties of the activities for which a permit is sought and to solicit comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impact on the public interest.
The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concem for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the project must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the project will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.
The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the pUblic; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Federally-recognized Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for a public hearing shall state, with particularity, the reason for holding a public hearing. The District Engineer will determine if the issuesraised aresubstantial andwhetherahearing isneededformakingadecision.
COMMENTS OR REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If you wish to obtain additional information or to submit comments on the application, please contact Mitch Elcan at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 167 North Main Street, Room B-202, Memphis, Tennessee 38103-1894, telephone (901) 544-0737. Copies of all comments, including the names and address of commenters, may be provided to the applicant for consideration and response prior to a decision by the Corps.
Comments should be received by May 6, 2009.

Larry D. Watson
Chief Regulatory Branch

Sample Letter for you to copy and modify to express your own viewpoint. Again, this must be mailed or emailed by the due date, May 7, 2009.

Mr. Mitch Elcan
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE)
167 North Main Street, Room B-202
Memphis, Tennessee 38103-1894

Re: PUBLIC NOTICE NO: MVM-2009-093(jme)

Dear Mr. Elcan:

This is in response to the above notice on the Riverfront Development Corporation's (RDC) permit application for the cobblestone landing project. I am writing to request a public hearing on this project.

The cobblestone waterfront is part of the Cotton Row Historic District, and is one of the most significant historic sites in Memphis. A public presentation of the plan for this site should be given to insure that the public understands the nature of this project and supports the proposed improvements.


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