I agree to Idea Improve Huntsville's Riverfront!
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I disagree to Idea Improve Huntsville's Riverfront!

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City-Wide Park Improvements »

Improve Huntsville's Riverfront!

Florence can do it, Guntersville can, Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis can... Why not Huntsville? Let's improve our riverfront! A great first step would some lovely parks for families, children and dogs.

Submitted by 1 year ago

Comments (29)

  1. I definitely agree but that area down by Ditto Landing (Huntsville's Riverfront) is all flood zone from what I was told by G.I.S. at the Madison County office in downtown Huntsville

    1 year ago
  2. adhearne023 Idea Submitter

    It does flood every time they open the gates at Guntersville Dam after some rain. But there are smart enough people that I'm sure could figure a way around this issue, whether it be buildings on stilts, raising the land above the flood zone, different regulations of when to open the flood gates, etc.

    1 year ago
    1. Installing dykes would fix the problem but that would cost 10's of millions of dollars. Ditto is much to far from the city center to become viable.

      1 year ago
  3. Flood issues aside, one problem is Ditto Landing is really far from Huntsville proper, so it would have trouble attracting large numbers of local residents and doesn't have easy access to tourists, either.

    1 year ago
  4. Even if we could get the area around big spring developed into more of a hang out area vs a park ie having things to do/places to go around the big spring rather than hotels and lawyer offices.

    We also need to have a connection to all the green spaces in the area

    1 year ago
  5. Wouldn't it be great to have a restaurant over looking the river like in Tuscaloosa with Cypress Inn?

    1 year ago
    1. I don't know Cypress Inn, so I'm imagining that it is built on a high elevation, so I looked on their web site, and yes, it is a 3-level structure. And, it looks to be a locally-owned establishment. The appearance, based on their web photo, blends with the surroundings. Not too fond of the line of rocking chairs. And, do the dining areas really have views of Oliver Lake? For the purposes of enjoying the Tennessee River, I would definitely prefer a casual chic place with lots of great views. Lodging, no. Accessible by greenway bike trails, yes.

      1 year ago
  6. TVA-owned land. Take it up with them. Good luck with that.

    1 year ago
    1. Not True. The City of Huntsville owns appx 178 acres of land just west of Memorial parkway on the Huntsville side of the river. Its the area that looks like it has lakes in it. Originally it was owned by a local brick company. I think the city got it in 2004 per the property records. That is more than enough to develop a river walk type commercial area. It may have to be built up but it is possible. Look at Augusta Georgia for one style and look at Branson Mo for the next way to do it.

      1 year ago
  7. But I could not agree more.

    1 year ago
  8. The river system is the single greatest resource/opportunity available to the city of Huntsville.

    This would make an excellent area for restaurants, concerts and lodging. The natural beauty is there, the potential for river traffic is there.

    The availabe resource for elevating the topography is there as well. TVA would entertain anything that would increase their water retention. Water reserves are kilowatt hours. Elevating the potentially developed areas increases the water retention.

    Huntsville is going to jump the river and developments on both sides of this beautiful waterway will turn this area into Huntsville's Crown Jewel.

    1 year ago
    1. The Tennessee River is beautiful in its own right. I'd rather not tamper with the topography of the normal flooding that comes along with a majestic natural resource. Although... a discreetly designed, lovely dining establishment to take in the view. Or a viewing platform accessed by a greenway. A complement, not a detraction.

      1 year ago
  9. This area is far to remote to ever be successfully developed. Who is going to drive that far out to see a river side development? The other cites cited in the description have rivers in their downtown areas.

    1 year ago
    1. Far out? Anything in Huntsville can be reached in 15 minutes. Go live in a major metro area like Atlanta or GA and then say way out. Its a relative term. There is major housing in SE Huntsville and remember a lot of people who work in Huntsville live in Morgan County who commute in each day.

      1 year ago
    2. the goal is to drive less not more.

      1 year ago
    3. my concern is that area of town is a bit sketchy. esp. at night.

      1 year ago
  10. Moderator

    As someone newer to town, I've struggled with this notion. A river is an incredible natural amenity... but at the same time, our frontage IS somewhat remote, and it's also heavily marked by floodways. In my gut I lean towards more passive development (parks, trails, etc.), but I'm always curious to hear if folks have other ideas that might jump-start more substantial development there.

    1 year ago
    1. The area could probably support a smaller mixed-use development similar to the ongoing Providence project, or Jones Valley, and a private developer might be encouraged to commit if the city were to undertake creating good, adjacent, park facilities down that way. It might spur the start of larger development in the future. Care would probably have to be taken not to negatively affect the existing development along Memorial Parkway and in southeast Huntsville, though.

      1 year ago
    2. I think a real good idea would be to develop the greenways down to the river first alongside the Arsenal boundary since the city owns property all along the arsenal border. They built a septic system pipeway to the river a while back which already has the land cleared for greenways then loop around to ditto. I would also think if the city or county or both could buy Hobbs Island they could develop it into a nice park area for hiking and riding of bikes and other recreation. It will not be developed for anything else since it has at least one indian mound on it.

      1 year ago
  11. I like your idea aldus1. A birding theme would go well here. Also kayaking and canoeing. The idea of a Target -like development i disagree with. Yes it is somewhat remote, and that needs to be played up as the advantage.

    1 year ago
  12. somewhat remote is fine when you are looking to develop the TN River's recreational opportunities. A whitewater rafting corridor like Columbus, GA is doing, http://www.facebook.com/Ready2Raft . There is lots of buzz and interest in this for NE AL! Look for the facebook group: "Let's Bring a Whitewater/Adventure Park to Northeast Alabama"

    1 year ago
  13. Of course. you may have to breach the dams which have transformed the Tennessee from a river environment to a placid lake environment. :/

    1 year ago
  14. adhearne023 Idea Submitter

    I personally think John Hunt did this town a huge disservice when he settled next to Big Spring. Had he walked just a few more miles and settled on the river all of our struggles with keeping downtown interesting would be solved. The best downtowns sit right next to a river, somehow Huntsville's is not. (Maybe you could blame it on LeRoy Pope, but whatever. It's too late now.)

    1 year ago
    1. The Tennessee flooded too violently. That is why the big spring, higher elevation and Indian creek made the current location of Huntsville so desirable. The Tennessee river was accessible with navigable water all the way to Tirana but the city was far enough away for safety.

      1 year ago
  15. adhearne023 Idea Submitter

    I have to admit I know close to nothing about the history of the Tennessee river or the purposes behind the Guntersville Dam. The things I thought I knew are that Guntersville Dam is owned by TVA? I figured they put the dam there for power, which created Lake Guntersville, and the flooding we get now is due to keeping levels on the lake appropriate. With this new information I guess the dam helps control the flooding? I didn't think any other cities on the river had trouble with flooding. If the presidency dumps TVA, would the city have the opportunity to purchase the dam and have more control over the flooding procedures? This might help development efforts? I'm way out of my lane here.

    1 year ago
    1. The TVA owns a series of dams on the Tennessee river. Ditto landing is actually on wheeler lake. The TVA dams dramatically reduced the flooding on the Tennessee river. The communities in north al on the Tennessee (guntersville, Decatur and Florence) are on much higher ground than anything around Huntsville.

      1 year ago

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    1 year ago