There are so many trucks, cranes and workers in the muddy river bottom this week it looks more like Loop 410 than the river bend. The silt-removal effort is a major (de-)construction project.
When the river bend was drained for its annual maintenance in “the old days” – back in 1985 when we staged the First Maybe Annual River Bottom Festival and Mud Parade and votes for mud royalty had to be paid in cash, literally a nickel at a time – only a handful of Parks and Recreation employees would be spotted in waders in the mud, fishing out chairs, glassware and utensils tossed in by river revelers. Workers might patch a crumbling wall or two, but that was it.
Fortunately, the water will be returned to the river by January 11. In the mean time, it’s actually entertaining to watch the big trucks get stuck in the muck and it all just means another excuse to party for the Paseo del Rio Association.
Maybe if the city elected not to refill the river, the owner of the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel would not be forced to erase the lime green paint from the wall that assaults pedestrians as they head into downtown from King William. Then he could even remove “Riverwalk” from the hotel’s name. If he does not want to be governed by the standards that apply in the district, why market the property that way? It also would be so convenient to reserve the river bed for overflow parking (Sorry, but that wall just invites mudslinging).
Update on January 6: Learn who is campaigning to serve as Mud Queen and King and how you can join in the festivities.
Update on January 7: Mud news in USA Today
Update on June 5: Finally, the lime green wall of the Riverwalk Inn has been painted a more subtle tan, blending in with the brick of the nearby Granada and Tower Life Building.