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Proposed River Walk Raises Concern for Some

Posted April 13, 2007

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— Smithfield businessman Ross Lambe wants to merge the Neuse River and the town into a tourist destination but the idea has some state officials raising concerns.

"I think it would make Smithfield a destination," Lambe said. "People pass through Smithfield, and all they see is the main street."

Lampe proposed to dig a canal off the Neuse river, just west of the bridge, and build a river walk with restaurants, shops and a boat ride down the middle. It would be similar to San Antonio, Texas.

Although it has not formally reviewed the plan, the Army Corps of Engineers has raised concerns about possible damage to wetlands and more flooding problems. The town has struggled with flooding problems for years.

"It was their opinion that this was not something that was economically viable," said Durwood Stephenson, a local contractor and former Department of Transportation board member.

But supporters believe they can avoid those problems by working with the Corp. Lampe said he is not discouraged and hopes to push forward with support from the Downtown Smithfield Development group.

Some estimate it could cost nearly $20,000 to study the possibility of building a river walk. Stephenson and others argue it is probably not worth the money if the permits will be rejected.

But supporters believe they can build without impacting wetlands. They are looking into some federal funding options.

10 Comments

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  • pga007 Apr 15, 2007

    Seems like I remember something about another town out southwest of here (initials N.O.?) where the Army Corp of Engineers also advised against something/felt current safeguards were insufficient. What ever happened with that?

  • get over it Apr 14, 2007

    this is the stupidest thing i have heard of. how are you going to get the money to fix smithfield when it floods?

  • another opinion Apr 14, 2007

    Who pays to rebuild after a flood? You can alter nature but when she wants something she will get it any way she can.

  • Lizard Paw Apr 14, 2007

    I need $20,000!! I'll study it for them! Me! Me! Pick me!!

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Apr 14, 2007

    so when would a scientist know anything about flooding???? I'm thinking an engineer would be better qualified. Flooding will NOT be a problem!!! taxpayers money going to another feel-good project, when they're going to start to raise taxes by way of toll roads makes NO sense.....you want to fix our environment....GET CARS OFF THE ROADS FASTER! quit spending foolish money on crooked streams, and so-called wetland "restoration" quit taking forever to do designs when you could hire consultants to do them quicker for FAR less money....quit thinking the answer to every problem is to take more money in by way of taxes!

  • bopeace1999 Apr 14, 2007

    Is the place they're proposing the *best* place for it? I don't know. I would encourage them to talk to someone else, i.e. scientists, to see if the flooding problem could be alleviated by this construction.

    As far as Smithfield always remaining 'podunk' - excuse me? I go to Smithfield several times a week. I live in Clayton. I PREFER going to Smithfield than Raleigh.

    If YOU don't like Smithfield, fine. Stay home. Some of us are encouraged that Smithfield is trying to shed it's podunk image. Thinking beyond tomorrow into the future is a smart thing to do. If you don't like thinking ahead - don't. The rest of us will continue to do so.

  • refiman Apr 13, 2007

    let Lambe pay for the study for that ridiculous plan

  • Screen name Apr 13, 2007

    Nope, it's a case of "If we build it, Smithfield will still be a podunk that no one goes to."

    Seriously guys, no one will go to this. Smithfield will NEVER be a tourist destination PERIOD. Face facts...the sooner, the better too.

    Smithfield = BFE

  • colliefan Apr 13, 2007

    This isn't a case of "if we build it they will come."

  • gvmtcheese Apr 13, 2007

    So folks, in a nutshell, they basically want to construct something that will cost you money. Federal funding does not mean federal government funding folks. It means federal government borrowing. In the end, you, Johnston County citizens will pay the interest and the priniciple!