Sea History 043 - Spring 1987

Page 15


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On the Riverfronts by Ann Breen Riverfront revival is alive and well in North America. Citizer.'s gro ups are working on river cleanup and communities are looking to their riverbanks as sites for economic revival and parks . Rivers cross the map of the continent like veins and they were, and remain, vital transportation links . Over the years, changing technologies have taken their toll and turned much of the nation 's riverbank acreage into wastelands. Railroads and later highways located along riversides blocking views and access . Convenient dumping grounds, the rivers also became increasingly polluted . SmaJI wonder people lost consciousness of their connection with the ri vers. But this situation is no longer true. Beg inning with the massive public investment in water cleanup in the early 1970s , renewed interest in historic structures and the phenomenal growth of waterfront redevelopment , the pace of riverfront continues unabated . For example, in Savannah , the redevelopment of old cotton warehouses as restaurants , shops and offices has spurred the creation of a riverfront park and promenade on once abandoned territory . On the Miami River condomini ums vye for space with old boat yards and commercial fishing operations. And in Rock Island , Illinois, space on a riverfront parking lot was given over to allow a small walkway, bandshell and seating so people could see and enjoy the Mississippi. The Waterfront Center is fully engaged in these efforts which it reports in its bi-monthly newsletter, Waterfront World. The Center also showcases projects at its annual conferences and promotes broader interest in the field through the publications of its Waterfront Press. In addition, the Center has first-hand experience of riverfront initiatives throu gh its consulting and assistance team efforts in communities throughout the country. If you ' re active on your riverfront, whether it 's park planning, economic development and tourism or citizen 's group, you should consider being part of a growing network of people across North America who are members of the Waterfront Center. For information and free sample newsletter contact: The Waterfront Center, 1536 44th St. NW Washington , DC 20007 ; 202 337-0356. Membership is $28.00 for individuals and $54.00 for organizations and includes newsletter and discounts on conferences and publications . SEA HISTORY , SPRING 1987

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