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VOL. 126 | NO. 90 | Monday, May 9, 2011

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Mid-South Flooding

Special Coverage: Mid-South Flooding

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Mud Island River Park Closed Indefinitely

Mud Island River Park closed Friday for safety reasons as the waters of the real Mississippi River flooded the park’s scale model of the Mississippi River.

Leaders of the Riverfront Development Corp., which runs the park for the city, cited the inability of emergency responders to get past flooded parts of service roads on the island in their decision to close indefinitely.

The RDC has cancelled all events planned for the island and modified the operating terms of the Memphis Yacht Club. Boat owners will still be able to access the marina from the monorail and a water shuttle being set up Friday to ferry them to the marina from Jefferson Davis Park.

The flood waters caused the Gulf of Mexico replica on the Riverwalk in the park to overflow. As a result, all power has been cut to the south end.

A maintenance compound in the park was evacuated earlier this week.

The RDC is making efforts to hold back the flood waters and protect artifacts in the Mississippi River Museum. The museum building is supposed to be above the expected 48-foot crest of the river at Memphis, which is expected Wednesday.

– Bill Dries

Despite Flooding, Downtown ‘Open for Biz’

Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery forwarded an email to the media at the end of the week from The Peabody hotel general manager Doug Browne that was critical of media coverage of the recent historic flooding.

Browne suggested the constant news reports could hurt the city’s tourism industry.

“Just wanted to mention, whenever you get a chance remind the world that yes we have flooding in some areas of Memphis, but all of Downtown is open for business, and all of our tourist destinations are open as well,” Brown wrote in the email.

“Our international airport is open and most railways and highways are open too. The media could hurt the Memphis convention and tourism business for many months if they scare people away. We employee many people – this could be more disastrous than the floods … if we need to reduce employment and cut hours.”

– Andy Meek

Flooding Impacts Memphis Union Mission

Memphis Union Mission said it expects that Calvary Colony, its 160-acre property at 4535 Benjestown Road near Shelby Forest, will be affected by flooding over the next few days.

The site houses 46 men and is adjacent to the organization’s Intact Family Ministry, whose resident families have already been relocated.

Located near the Loosahatchie River, the only currently available exit road from that area is Watkins Street, as all other exit routes are now under water.

The property itself has not been flooded, and likely will not be, but MUM officials said they are closely monitoring the area and will evacuate all clients if floodwaters approach the exit road too closely.

MUM serves homeless, addicted and in-crisis men, women and children.

MUM officials said they want to take precautions to ensure the safety of all the facility’s residents and cannot afford for them and the nonprofit organization’s property to be isolated by floodwaters.

The organization said that should the men of Calvary Colony be evacuated, they will be placed at MUM’s Opportunity Center, Wright Transitional House and other Mission properties until the flooding subsides.

Visit memphisunionmission.org for updated information on how flooding is impacting Memphis Union Mission.

– Aisling Maki

Wastewater Facility Not Damaged Thursday

The Memphis Wastewater Treatment facility that sits along North Second Street was not damaged Thursday by the water main break that flooded its neighbor, General DeWitt Spain Airport.

There was still road access to the plant late last week, said Public Works Deputy Director Robert Knecht.

The city also has plans to get workers into the facility by boat if the road is flooded, and there are stockpiles of supplies in the plant to last a crew working there for a month.

The facility itself was built to stay above a 52-foot river level.

The city sewer system faces other challenges that underscore the necessity of staying clear of the river water for reasons beyond the swift current. The system doesn’t have enough capacity for now to pump all of the sewage in the system into the plant.

“It basically is discharging straight into the Mississippi,” Knecht said. “They basically just cannot treat all of that sewage at one time. … That will be the practice until we can once again get it back to the point where it can be treated through our processes.”

Knecht said the city has notified state officials of the policy.

– Bill Dries

PROPERTY SALES 83 317 13,368
MORTGAGES 56 208 8,379
BUILDING PERMITS 361 518 31,196
BANKRUPTCIES 34 113 6,333