Tunica River Park
Williamson Pounders Architects
The master plan by Williamson Pounders Architects will accommodate a harbor, visitors center and nature experience.
Except for a small municipal park on the riverbank near the town of Tunica, there was no opportunity anywhere in Tunica County for tourists or residents to easily view or experience the Mississippi River.
The 1999 Strategic Action Plan for Tourism in Tunica County,
Mississippi proposed that a Mississippi River experience be
developed somewhere in the county. Three major components were
identified 1) Harbor, 2) Visitors Center and 3) Nature
The master plan by Williamson Pounders Architects required
approximately 168 acres of land for the park development. This will
accommodate all the programmed functions and will also provide some
expansion space for any future development that might occur.
The site of the River Park is located at River Mile 699L on the Mississippi River near Robinsonville, Tunica County, Mississippi.
All of the construction will be designed to withstand the various flooding conditions of the river. Some of the structures, such as the road system will periodically go under water while the top of the harbor berm and the buildings will be located above the 100 year flood level.
The Harbor will be dredged out of the existing river bank and provide a floating dock to accommodate a large excursion boat which may be privately operated. It will also have six or eight boat slips primarily for small transient pleasure boats as well as a boat launch ramp for public use.
The docking facility will also be designed to accommodate the Delta Queen riverboats, which regularly cruise up and down the river.
A large fountain is proposed in the river at the Harbor. The high arching water jet would be visible for miles and would serve as both a landside and a waterside gateway into the park. Utilities to support this dock and ADA compliant access to the boats will be provided. Required roads, parking and pedestrian access will be built.
The Visitors Center will be a building of approximately 37,000 square feet. It will house all the administrative space to support the marina facilities. It will also include a large waiting lobby, concession area, gift shop, meeting rooms and river-levee museum including a Mississippi River stocked freshwater aquarium. This museum will offer interpretative exhibits that describe the history of the river and its levee system and the impact that they have had on Tunica County.
Exterior building spaces will include terraces overlooking the river, a promenade along the top of the curving harbor facility and bridges to the nature trail system. An observation deck, elevated several stories in the air, overlooking the harbor and the river will also be a part of the building. The building will be a steel framed structure with a corrugated metal panel skin; different panel colors will indicate functional spaces in the building.
The Nature Experience will include nature trails of varying lengths as well as interpretative information about the wetland environment of the river. ADA trails will be built as well as longer trails through the park. Additional landscaping will be installed as a part of the project and interpretative earth forms such as small levees and earth mounds will be built to help describe the historic flood levels at this location. Located throughout the park will be sculptural elements including wind sculptures and stabiles, however the use of earth forms will provide the primary focus for artistic and interpretative expression.
The harbor berm will be built in lifts of engineered fill, which will come from the dredging of the harbor itself, with an under drain system and secured with over 1200 soil nails. Riprap stone, tying into the existing trench-fill bank system will form the harbor walls. The dock will be a custom-built steel-floating barge with a steel and concrete ramp and metal roof construction. A 180-foot long steel truss gangway will connect the dock to the land. The dock will float up and down on eighty-foot tall steel dolphins, welded to concrete pile caps placed in the bottom of the dredged harbor.
Facts about Tunica River Park
SWA Group (Dallas, TX)
Last updated: December 19, 2013