October 10, 2016 - 12:38 PM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Crittenden County officials said a proposed 5-mile walkway along the Mississippi River wetlands will generate more tourism revenue to West Memphis and encourage industrial development.
The city will begin developing the Delta River Regional Trail for pedestrians and bicyclists on the city's east side in November, West Memphis planner Paul Luker told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2dOrMfH ). The 11-foot-wide trail will connect to a walkway that leads across the Mississippi River on the Interstate 55 bridge to Memphis.
The trail is one phase of West Memphis officials' plan to provide activities for recreation and bring revenue to the city of more than 26,000. Luker said city officials want to improve the quality of life in West Memphis, including for pedestrians and bicyclists who will be able to use the trail when it's completed.
Luker also said the project calls for adding wildlife viewing stations along the walkway, including areas for bird-watching and butterfly gardens. The walkway will also provide views of the Memphis skyline.
"There is a lot of wildlife in the area," Luker said. "We want to incorporate those traits in this project.
"It's a natural area next to the mighty Mississippi River. It's really unique."
The trail and bridge walkway's appeal is expected to be international, according to director of West Memphis Tourism Jim Jackson.
"There's Sun Studios and Stax Records and Elvis," Jackson said. "They are coming here for the musical heritage.
"This will complete that."
The city awarded a $1.5 million contract for construction. Work is expected to finish in the spring, and the completed trail will be open 24 hours a day.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com
News from © The Associated Press, 2016