|Elvis corridor in Memphis could get makeover |
|Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 9:03 pm |
|MEMPHIS (AP) — Officials in Memphis want to make Elvis Presley Boulevard more attractive. |
The city has applied for a federal grant that would help fund $20 million worth of improvements along 1.6 miles of the street, The Commercial Appeal reported. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to spend $27 million on similar improvement for an adjoining 1.3 miles of the roadway.
A city report says the road “has lost all visual and contextual cohesion” and “aesthetic quality.” In other words, it’s ugly. The report outlines planned improvements that would make the road look better as well as offer better accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists. The plan also highlights the street’s importance to the city as a commercial, tourist and residential artery.
Some 17 million visitors to Graceland have traveled the boulevard over the last 29 years, and it serves as a gateway to the Whitehaven community.
The Elvis Presley Boulevard Revitalization Plan says the road has long stretches where it is lined with fast-food restaurants, title-loan businesses, low-end motels, shuttered businesses, vacant parking lots and utility poles resulting in a “disconcerting visual clutter” that diminishes safety and economic vitality.
The city project would relocate overhead utilities and install landscaped or specially designed medians and new street lighting in addition to improving sidewalks, curbs and gutters and adding shared vehicle-bicycle lanes.
City Engineer John Cameron said the improvements would create a more complete road.
“Right now, it’s a very auto-related street,” he said.
Cameron said the project would help Graceland as well as local business owners, residents and the larger community.
Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, said the project also could improve the city’s image. He said “people from all over the world” travel the street.
“We’ve been interested in improving the appearance of Elvis Presley Boulevard for over 20 years,” he said.
Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com Published in The Messenger 11.21.11