Morris to Lead Main to Main Project

By Bill Dries

Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Morris will become the new project director for the Main Street to Main Street revitalization project that includes a Harahan Bridge boardwalk.

Paul Morris, president of the Downtown Memphis Commission, has been named the new project director for the Main Street to Main Street revitalization project. 

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)


Morris adds the federally funded project with private donors to his duties at the Downtown development group as project manager Mike Carpenter starts his duties at the nonprofit Plough Foundation, the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. confirmed Monday, June 10.

When Carpenter announced his new position at the Plough Foundation last month, he also said he would continue to tie up loose ends on the project for several months at no pay.

Those loose ends include completing and getting signatures on the $15 million federal transportation grant agreement as well as completing the agreement with Union Pacific railroad, which owns the Harahan Bridge across the Mississippi River.

From there, Allen & Hoshall engineering firm would become full-time technical program managers responsible for day-to-day work on the project.

Morris would make decisions and oversee public hearings and discussions about its overall scope. Morris has already been involved in the details and planning of the project.

The project is a renovation of Main Street Memphis and Broadway Avenue in West Memphis with the bicycle and pedestrian boardwalk on the north side of the rail bridge across the river linking the two.

The complex project is in phases, some overlapping, that begin construction work later this year. The federal funding comes with some stringent deadlines for completing certain parts of the project.

The Main Street Memphis renovations and improvements would run from the Uptown area to the South Main Historic Arts District and then link up with the area around the rail bridge.

Morris had been vocal even before the federal grant process that the Main Street Mall section of Main in particular is overdue for maintenance on items like paving and trolley tracks as well as mall drainage issues.

The Main Street proposal and the Harahan Bridge project had been two separate applications for federal TIGER – Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery – grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, suggested combining them to have a better chance of being awarded a grant. The grant was awarded one year ago this month.