Thursday, December 28, 2006

Text of ordinance regarding Post Office site

ORDINANCE NO. _____

ORDINANCE AMENDING THE USE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY AND APPROVING IMPLEMENTATION OF AGREEMENT OF PURCHASE, SALE AND TRANSFER ENTERED INTO BY AND BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, THE TENNESSEE BOARD OF REGENTS/STATE OF TENNESSEE AND THE CITY OF MEMPHIS

WHEREAS, the Board of Alderman of the City of Memphis by ordinance dated May 25, 1874 approved an ordinance granting and donating to the Government of the United States a parcel of land to be used for the erection of a Customs House, Court House and Post Office in the City of Memphis;

WHEREAS, the City of Memphis entered into a certain grant of rights to the Federal Government for the purposes of using the municipal property as the site of a Customs House, Court House, Post Office and such other government buildings as erected by the United States Government; and

WHEREAS, the United States of America by and through the United States Postal Service ("USPS") and the Tennessee Board of Regents/State of Tennessee ("State") and the City of Memphis ("City") have entered into an Agreement of Purchase, Sale and Transfer (the "Agreement") on the subject property commonly referred to as One North Front Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103 to provide that the property shall be used by the State for the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, or other educational use and uses related thereto for the public purpose; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the citizens of Memphis and this community to amend any previously imposed restrictions placed on the subject property and modify all such restrictions to allow for the uses contemplated in the aforesaid Agreement.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS,

SECTION 1. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, The Ordinance of May 25, 1875 granting and donating to the Government of the United States a parcel of land to be used for the erection of a Customs House, Court House and Post Office in the City of Memphis is hereby amended so that any previously imposed restrictions placed on the subject property commonly known as One North Front Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103, also identified as the site of the Customs House Court House Post Office, are hereby modified, amended and supplemented to allow for the site to be used for public purposes as the relocated University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, and other educational uses and similar public purpose uses related thereto, and the Mayor is hereby authorized to execute such instrument or instruments necessary, incidental to or related to the carrying of this ordinance into effect upon the passage of this ordinance.

SECTION 2. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That this Ordinance shall take effect in the City of Memphis on passage by the City Council of Memphis and as required by due process of law.

SECTION 3. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That should any section, subsection paragraph or provision of this Ordinance be held invalid or unenforceable by a court or competent jurisdiction, such decision shall in no way affect the validity of any other provisions of this Ordinance, it being the intention of the City Council of the City of Memphis to adopt each and every provision of this Ordinance separately.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Board Meeting

Here are the minutes from the RDC Board Meeting of November 15, 2006. A quorum was not established.

Click here for a scanned, PDF version [758 KB]. Click the complete article link below to read the text in HTML.


Riverfront Development Corporation
Board Minutes
November 15, 2006


The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Riverfront Development Corporation was held on November 15, 2006 at the offices of the Corporation, Falls Building, 22 N. Front Street, Memphis, TN,

Directors Attending: Rick Masson, Pete Aviotti, Rob Carter, John Farris, Lucia Gilliland, William Hudson, Kevin Kane, Terry Lynch, Mary Lynn Perl, John Pontius, and John Stokes,

Directors Absent: Greg Duckett, John Bobango, Charles Carpenter, Kemp Conrad, Sara Hall, Tomeka Hart, James Holt, Barbara Hyde, Derrick Joyce, Pat Kerr-Tigrett, Robert Lipscomb, Bob Lundy, Lecia Martin, Angus McEachran, Keith McGee, Rickey Peete, Jeff Sanford, Bill Taylor, Dan Turley, Burnetta Williams, and Jerry West,

Others Attending: Benny Lendermon, Jay Fuller, Dorchelle Spence, Brenda Adair, Hite Mclean, Karl Schledwitz, and Andy Ashhy.

Call to Order: Chairman Masson called the meeting to order at 8:40 a,m,

Roll Call: The Secretary called the roll. A quorum was not established.

Approval of Board Minutes: Mr, Masson stated that since a quorum was not established, the minutes from the previous board meeting (September 22, 2006) were not presented for approval. An error in the 9/22/07 minutes to be corrected was also made. The correction is Kevin Kane seconded the motion to approve the May 16, 2006 board minutes,

Treasurer's Report: John Pontius reported that Watkins Uiberall, PLLC has completed the RDC financial statements for FY2006. No Discrepancies or irregularities were found, and no changes were made

Mr. Pontius also reported that as a result of a drop in RDC's parks management contract fees by over $480,000 for the year, the approved budget is a break-even budget that could be upset by unusual changes in revenue or expenses, Revenue for the first quarter was below the expectation by $97,940 The primary factor was concert revenue. However, on the expense side, there were enough surplus line items, notably landscaping, advertising, equipment repair, and employee compensation to offset the drop in revenue, As a result, the first quarter budget shows a slight deficit ($10,381), which we expect to recover during the year.

Dorchelle Spence reported that the RDC Annual Report for FY2005 and FY2006 is completed and ready for distribution. This year, the 2005 and 2006 annua1 reports were combined into one report, Ms. Spence stated that the report highlights many of RDC's accomplishments to date, such as Beale Street Landing, RDC's work with the University of Memphis Law School, the Riverwalk connecting Tom Lee Park with Ashburn Coppock and Martyrs Parks, and the Mud Island Traffic Circle The report also includes financial statements for both years.

Carousel Exploratory Committee Report: Mr. Lendermon gave an update on the Grand Carousel in the absence of John Bobango, Chair of the Carousel Exploratory Committee. Since the last board meeting, the City Council has adopted a resolution stating it wants the Grand Carousel relocated to Mud Island River Park. They also requested RDC to present, within 90-days, a proposal of how the relocation could be accomplished. RDC staff and many others are working to accomplish the request within the timeframe.

John Bobango and the committee are also working with the City of Memphis to implement a security system for the carousel. Currently, the Parks Services' staff is providing 24-hour security7 days a week. The City is also looking at providing insurance for the carousel during the storage and renovation stages. In addition, under the leadership of John Bobango there have been several meetings regarding restoration funding for the Grand Carousel from the private sector. Committee members are John Stokes, Kevin Kane, Mary Lynn Perl, and Pat Kerr-Tigrett.

President's Report: Dorchelle Spence gave an overview of the Mud Island River Park Season. She reported that the Island had a great season with the second highest attendance since RDC assumed management. The primary reason for the attendance being slightly down is because there were fewer concerts this year. Museum tickets sales were up, in addition to the percentage of visitors to the Island. Halloween at the Island was very successful with 3,200 visitors. This year, RDC was fortunate to gain the support of a media sponsor, Clear Channel, which brought more publicity for the event. We also had a corporate sponsor, Hope Presbyterian Church provided volunteers for the event.

Mr. Lendermon reported that each year, the Center City Commission (CCC) participates in the International Downtown Association Conference which was held in Portland, Oregon October 7-9. The CCC was recognized during the conference this year, and received The Downtown IDA Achievement Award for Minority Outreach. Jeff Sanford, Rickey Peete, and Barbara SwearengenHolt were attending the conference representing the CCC, and Mr. Lendermon recognized that this was also a great opportunity to visit Portland's waterfront. Mr. Lendermon and RDC board members, Kemp Conrad, John Bobango, City Council members, Tajuan Stout-Mitchell and Scott McCormick also attended conference, and toured the International Carousel Museum in Hood River. Mr. Lendermon stated the visit to the carousel museum was very educational. The Memphis carousel is ranked in the top 10 of carousel in existence.

Mr. Lendermon reported that recently the new Tom Lee Memorial dedication ceremony was held on Thursday, October 19 at 10 a.m. in Tom Lee Park. In addition to the unveiling of the memorial, an original song was performed by the Overton High School Choir. The lyrics written by former Tennessee Poet Laureate Helen Thomas Allison and the score by Elizabeth Rogers, was arranged by Ken Eichholz. Memphis City Council Members, Barbara Swearengen-Holt and Rickey Peete, and a representative from The United States Coast Guard made remarks at the ceremony. Members of the Lee family and David Alan Clark, the artist who design the memorial, also gave remarks.

Lendermon reported that a lighted Christmas Tree will be constructed on the south tip of Mud Island River Park, and the cobblestone walkway lights will be changed to red and green for the holiday season.

Mr. Lendermon also informed the board that Tajuan Stout-Mitchell, Chair of the Memphis City Council contacted RDC about hosting a joint Christmas celebration with City Council. The event will be held at the River Terrace Yacht Club at Mud Island River Park on Saturday, December 16 at 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Lendermon also noted that the cost of the party will be a 50-50 split, and RDC's cost will be paid by private contributions made by board members. No public funds will be used by RDC.

Mr. Lendermon reported the Beale Street Landing permitting process is still moving. To date there has been traffic and noise studies, an environmental assessment, and a review of building in the floodplain and next to a historical site (the cobblestone) completed and all submitted for comments from the State of Tennessee. The State is in the process of writing a contract for funding that is dedicated for the project. The contract will be executed between the State and the City of Memphis to allow the funds to be spent.

South End Presentation: Terry Lynch, managing partner of Southland Development Partners presented an updated master plan for the South End area. His company is leading the effort to transform this area into a new urbanist community. He presented a plan that request the participation of the area stakeholders including CCC, MAT A, RDC, The City of Memphis as well as private developers. The plan envisions the emerging community being better connected to the public open spaces including the riverfront parks, the river walk as well as Central Station and the South Main Arts district. The initial phase of the public realm improvements center around a major upgrade of the ""gateway" entry in the area along Riverside Drive. The area developers have agreed to a master streetscape plan that will allow for a seamless landscape and hardscape between developments along Riverside Drive. The plan also calls for upgraded signage into the RDC managed parks and a new traffic signal at Riverside and Georgia. This will allow for greater pedestrian access to the parks and help calm vehicular traffic along Riverside Drive.

New Business: Mr. Masson presented the 2007 RDC Board Meeting dates, requesting each member to please put the dates on their schedule. The meetings will start at 8 :30 at RDC on February 14,2007; May 16,2007; August 15,2007; and November 14,2007.

Adjournment: There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned 9:47 a.m.

Brenda J. Adair
Acting Secretary

Friday, September 22, 2006

Board Meeting

Here are the minutes from the RDC Board Meeting of September 22, 2006.

Click here for a scanned, PDF version [647 KB]. Click the complete article link below to read the text in HTML.


Riverfront Development Corporation
Board Minutes
September 22, 2006


The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Riverfront Development Corporation was held on September 22, 2006 at the offices of Hyde Family Foundations, located at 17 West Pontotoc Avenue, Memphis, TN.

Directors Attending: Rick Masson, Greg Duckett, Pete Aviotti, John Bobango, Charles Carpenter, Kemp Conrad, John Farris, Lucia Gilliland, William Hudson, Derrick Joyce, Kevin Kane, Pat Kerr-Tigrett, Bob Lundy, Angus McEachran, Rickey Peete, Mary Lynn Perl, John Pontius, Jeff Sanford, John Stokes, and Bill Taylor.

Directors Absent: Rob Carter, Sara Hall, Tomeka Hart, James Holt, Barbara Hyde, Robert Lipscomb, Terry Lynch, Lecia Martin, Keith McGee, Dan Turley, Burnetta Williams, and Jerry West.

Others Attending: Benny Lendermon, John Conroy, Jay Fuller, Dorchelle Spence, Brenda Adair, Hite McLean, and John Branston.

Call to Order: Chairman Masson called the meeting to order at 8:39 a.m. Mr. Masson announced that the board was very fortunate to have the Hyde Foundation host our board meeting at their facility. Mr. Masson also welcomed two new board members, Charles Carpenter and Mary Lynn Perl.

Roll Call: The Secretary called the roll and a quorum was established.

Approval of Board Minutes: Mr. Masson asked for approval of the minutes of the May 16, 2006 board meeting e-mailed to the Directors. John Farris' motion that the minutes be approved was seconded by Kevin Kane and unanimously approved by the Directors present.

Treasurer's Report: Bill Taylor reported that Watkins Uiberall, PLLC, has completed the RDC FY2007 financial audit. Although an official letter from the auditor has not been issued, we have been informed that no discrepancies or irregularities were found.

Mr. Taylor also stated that RDC is now working under a renewed five-year contract with the City of Memphis for the management of the Memphis riverfront. The contract amount was reduced by approximately twenty percent (20%) for FY2007, and will gradually increase in subsequent years. At the end of the contract, the City will still pay less than in the year 2000.

Carousel Exploratory Committee Report: Mr. Masson gave an update on the possibility of the Grand Carousel being relocated to the Mud Island River Park due the closing of Liberty Land. It was determined that the City of Memphis owns the carousel and it will be relocated somewhere in Memphis, if it is not sold or dismantled. Mr. Masson formed a Carousel Exploratory Committee to determine the cost of renovating and to devise a plan of action to manage and operate the carousel in the event it is moved to the Island. John Bobango, Chair of the Carousel Exploratory Committee reported that Mr. Todd Goings, a carousel restoration expert was hired to evaluate of the carousel. The evaluation included the overall condition and cost options for renovating the carousel. Mr. Goings' assessment also revealed that the carousel is in excellent condition. A slide presentation

detailing the carousel's mechanical parts, horses and other components, including where the carousel would be located in the park was viewed. Following, the Directors extensively discussed the financial aspects and funding needs it would take to obtain and restore the carousel.

Mr. Bobango moved that the Board authorize the Carousel Exploratory Committee to pursue options to: (1) incorporate the Grand Carousel into the operations of Mud Island River Park should the City of Memphis decide to relocate it there; (2) work in concert with the City of Memphis to restore and relocate the Grand Carousel to its original splendor; and, (3) explore ways to develop revenue sources to accomplish the purposes in number (2).

Mr. Bobango's motion as presented was seconded by Kemp Conrad and Pat Tigrett, and was unanimously approved by the Directors present.

President's Report: Mr. Lendermon reported that the RDC is working with The Leadership Academy in hosting The Leadership of Place Making. This is a speakers' series open to the public to hear how cities across the nation are reconnecting to their waterfronts. The first session was held on March 28, and Ken Hayes, immediate past president of RiverCity in Chattanooga, and Ann Coulter, former executive vice president gave a presentation on the Chattanooga riverfront. The second presentation on August 17, featured Alex Garvin with Alex Garvin & Associates, Inc. from New York. The first two series were held at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn and so far, 150 people have attended the lunch meetings.

The Mud Island River Park visitor attendance will exceed the attendance record for the previous season. The park museum is undergoing the largest upgrade in fifteen years. Funds received from the insurance claim for damage to the Memphis Belle pavilion from the windstorm several years ago are being used to upgrade the museum. The audio system will be redone, a new outdoor speaker system along the riverwalk will be installed, and the North Gate entrance will be updated with an automated gate system. Staff also integrated the management of the Poplar Avenue Mud Island Parking Garage into the Mud Island daily operations.

Dorchelle Spence reminded everyone that the Mud Island Halloween Festival will be October 31. Staff is again planning a fun-filled experience for those in attendance. Clear Channel Radio has agreed to be a sponsor for the festival this year, and admission is $2.00 per adult with a child.

Ms. Spence encouraged the Directors to remember the rental facilities available at Mud Island when planning holiday events. In addition, RDC will partner with Ballet Memphis in celebration of their 20th season. RDC will have a link on their web site, and have been offered discounts to performances. It was suggested that RDC should contact Ballet Memphis about holding
performances at the Mud Island Amphitheater.

Ms. Spence announced that staff is planning the dedication ceremony for the new Tom Lee Memorial scheduled Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. During the dedication, the Overton High School choir will perform an original song in honor of Tom Lee, written by Elizabeth Rogers and Helen Thomas Allison. The United States Coast Guard will make a presentation and council members Barbara Swearengen-Holt and Rickey Peete will give remarks. Mayor Herenton and members of the Lee Family have also been invited.

New Business: Chairman Masson explained that normally all park use applications are approved by the Executive Committee, however; due to time constraints, a park use request was presented to the Board of Directors for approval. The Kidney Trust, a non-profit organization requests the use of Torn Lee Park for a walk-a-thon on October 22, from 1 :00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Attendance is expected to be 100-300 participants and the park will remain open during the event. Staff recommended approval.

Mr. Peete's motion to approve the park use application was seconded by Kemp Conrad, and unanimously approved by the Directors present.

Adjournment: There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned 9:56 a.m.

John Farris
Secretary

Monday, August 14, 2006

Editorial: High stakes for high-rise project

The Commercial Appeal

It would be tempting, but inaccurate, to cast a dispute over building heights for Number One Beale as a clash between the rich and the richer. In reality, the stakes are far broader than that.

Number One Beale, not to be confused with the old restaurant of the same name, has the potential to change the skyline of Downtown Memphis in a big way. The proposed $175 million project would include a luxury hotel, upscale condominiums, offices, restaurants and retail space where Beale Street meets Riverside Drive.

The new development could provide another economic boost to the community, creating new jobs and generating more tax revenues.

However, the project hit a snag last week when representatives from Waterford Plaza, an upscale condo high-rise just north of the site, expressed concerns about how Number One Beale's twin towers might obstruct their residents' views of the Mississippi River.

The Land Use Control Board decided to wait at least 30 days before considering an exception to the building height limits needed for construction of Number One Beale to proceed. Ultimately, the building height issue will probably end up before the Memphis City Council.

If and when it does, council members could take a very narrow approach to this case, weighing only the economic benefits of this particular project against the concerns of the Waterford residents.

But we're hoping council members won't stop there.

This case offers a great opportunity for a broader discussion about public access to the riverfront.

Number One Beale isn't the first high-rise project proposed along the riverfront and it probably won't be the last. There has also been discussion in recent years about building high-rises along a stretch of public land known as the Promenade.

Council members should consider ways to balance the public's rights to see and walk along the river against pressure from developers to allow ever newer and taller buildings.

Chance Carlisle, Number One Beale's project manager, said his company's proposed development would provide access to the public. A pedestrian walkway would connect Front Street with the river. Also, the hotel lobby would be open, much like The Peabody's, so residents and tourists could go inside to have a drink or two, eat at one of the restaurants or pay a visit to the spa.

That's fine. But there's a bigger picture question here.

Rickey Peete, chairman of the council's planning and zoning committee, said he would support dedicating some portion of the riverfront for public access. That would, theoretically, provide Memphians with some assurances that the riverfront won't be gradually walled off from sight completely by rows and rows of skyscrapers.

Dedicated public access to a portion of the riverfront is a concept worth pursuing, although the details could certainly be troublesome. Would that involve having the city buy more valuable riverfront property, taking it off the tax rolls? Would that mean establishing a policy that requires riverfront developers to keep some portion of their properties open to the public?

The answers to those types of questions aren't easy. But unless the council is expecting Number One Beale to be the last high-rise proposed along the riverfront, then it seems like a good time to start looking for them.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Garage Gate, Part Two?

The rationale for building Beale Street Landing is slipping away.


The Memphis Flyer [link]
By John Branston

Ever taken a ferry-boat ride from Memphis to Arkansas?

Neither has anyone else. Memphis doesn't have ferry service to Arkansas, Tunica, Mud Island, or anywhere else. But that didn't stop the city of Memphis and the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) from putting the bite on the Federal Highway Administration for $1.8 million in 2005 Ferry Boat Discretionary Awards for Beale Street Landing, the proposed $27 million improvement to Tom Lee Park.

The Federal Highway Administration, you will remember, is the agency that financed the FedExForum parking garage, which was supposed to be an inter-modal transfer facility for buses, cars, and trolleys. Except it turned out that the garage was really for the exclusive benefit of the Memphis Grizzlies and did not serve any mass-transportation purpose. So Memphis had to give back $6 million.

The phantom ferry could be Garage Gate, Part Two. Once again, Memphis is playing with fire for the sake of a downtown project driven not by popular demand but by the powers that be -- this time at the RDC, along with their consultants, would-be contractors, and architects.

The grant to Memphis, which was reduced to $1.28 million "after obligation limitation lop-off and takedown" (how's that for jargon?), is the largest on the awards list. And it stands out like a broken bridge. The other grants are to places such as San Francisco and New York City, which actually have working ferries and water taxis. Beale Street Landing, on the other hand, is a combination of cobblestone improvements, high-concept architecture, underground parking garage (cue the ominous music from Jaws), restaurant, and boat landing for tourists. A ferry it ain't.

The RDC describes Beale Street Landing as "the first piece of the puzzle" in its master plan, but one by one, the reasons for building it are crumbling like a sandy riverbank in a flood.

First it was the price tag, which made the project and its "floating islands" seem extravagant in light of the city's strapped budget and short-lived freeze on capital spending in the summer of 2005.

Then it was the elimination of the land bridge from the riverfront master plan. The land bridge would have shrunk the harbor and cramped the docking space for the tour boats that cruise the Mississippi River. Without the land bridge, boats ranging in size from the Memphis Queen to the Mississippi Queen can dock comfortably at either the cobblestones or the Mud Island boat ramp.

Now another leg of the table has been knocked out. The latest change involves the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, owner of three steamboat replicas that cruise the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. This week, Delta Queen is closing its last operations and administrative offices in New Orleans. Using the proposed Beale Street Landing as an incentive, Memphis made a pitch for Delta Queen's headquarters. RDC officials also warned that Delta Queen boats might abandon Memphis without a better dock.

Nonsense. Delta Queen, soon to be renamed the Majestic America Line, needs Memphis more than Memphis needs Delta Queen. The company was hardly in a position to command incentives from Memphis or any other city. It has been through a bankruptcy and has had three owners in five years. Hurricane Katrina crippled its operations last year, but there were only 126 employees in New Orleans before the storm. In April, Delaware North sold it to California-based Ambassador International, which is moving the cruise-ship division headquarters to Seattle.

"They're moving out of New Orleans," said Lucette Brehm, whose last day as spokeswoman for Delta Queen was Monday.

"An operations-support office will be maintained in St. Louis," said Annmarie Ricard, spokeswoman for Ambassador International. "There will not be any office in Memphis. All three of Delta Queen's ships will continue to call on Memphis."

So the Beale Street Landing economic-development fantasy slides into the river along with the land bridge. The city and the RDC should scale back Beale Street Landing to the cobblestones replacement and make some modest improvements to Tom Lee Park such as sprinklers, shade trees, more water fountains, and a concession stand. But don't bet on it. When there's "free" federal money at stake, the tail often wags the dog.


The following artist's renderings were not published in the Flyer. They are reproduced from an article in the July 2006 issue of Memphis Health and Fitness. Click any picture to see it enlarged. Click here to download a PDF of the article itself (Warning: over 3 MB).








Saturday, July 29, 2006

Editorial: Rollin' on the River

The Commercial Appeal
Editorial
July 29, 2006

Pardon the metaphor, but the city's plans to spend $29.3 million on Beale Street Landing seem to be moving along like a tiny twig caught in the currents of the mighty Mississippi.

The Memphis Landmarks Commission recently granted one of the approvals needed for work to continue on the riverboat landing and civic plaza planned at the western end of the city's most famous street.

Although there seems to be little political will to swim upstream now, it's fair to wonder if this project should be reexamined in light of new developments.

The design for Beale Street Landing was born in 2003, back when the city's financial situation was on much higher ground than it is today.

Also, the Riverfront Development Corp. decided several months ago to give up on a land bridge that was considered the centerpiece of its master riverfront plan.

One might ask if a new riverboat docking facility is still needed under the reconfigured plan. The land bridge would have required smaller boats to dock along the historic cobblestones, which, in turn, would have necessitated moving the larger riverboats to Beale Street Landing.

Benny Lendermon, the RDC's president, still believes the riverboats need a new and improved docking facility -- and maybe he's right.

But Memphis City Council members are giving this project far less scrutiny than they did to the FedExForum.

And we all know how well that worked out.

Copyright 2006, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Beale Street Landing work OK'd

The Commercial Appeal
By Yann Ranaivo
July 28, 2006

Architects Danny Bounds and Paul Gillespie can build Beale Street Landing over an archaeological site on the Wolf River Harbor.

Memphis Landmarks Commission recently approved a permit to build over the historic site near the cobblestones at their meeting with Bounds and Riverfront Development Corp. president Benny Lendermon.

Relics from 19th Century Memphis remain buried under the cobblestones at the site.

The permit was issued under the condition that Bounds and Gillespie Architects and the RDC would have a ready source of replacement cobblestones if the existing ones are lost or damaged during building.

Landmarks Commission manager Nancy Baker said the replacement provision was necessary because they're building so close to the cobblestones.

"They can rattle them and make them move. Some have already begun falling into the Wolf River Harbor," she said.

If replacement cobblestones are needed, Memphis public works director Jerry Collins said he would provide them at no cost.

Beale Street Landing will include a park with walkways and islet terraces at different elevations to accommodate the changing Mississippi River levels and provide an attractive link to the cobblestones.

There will also be a terminal building, parking garage and floating dock, which will provide docking for commercial excursion vessels. State and federal funds will provide more than $10 million for the $27.3 million project.

Bounds and RDC also released the final designs for the landing, but Lendermon said the only significant change is the grass roof of the terminal building, which blends in with Tom Lee Park.

Phase one of the project, widening the Wolf River channel, began last spring. Bounds expects phase two, building the rim wall along the shoreline, to begin in late fall. The project should be completed by late 2007 or early 2008 "depending on the level of the river," Bounds said.

Friday, June 30, 2006

IRS Form 990: 2005-2006

Here is the RDC's IRS Form 990 for the fical year ended June 30, 2006 [PDF, 961 KB].

RDC financial report, 2005-2006

Click here for the RDC's audited financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006 [PDF file, 2.8 MB].

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

On Shaky Ground?

Part of new Mud Island condos sit on landslide site

Memphis Daily News [link]
by Andy Meek

The development team that's building Flagship Condominiums on Mud Island still is tweaking plans for the project, which will be a continuation of the award-winning Harbor Town community.

But the finish line is getting closer. And once that happens, Flagship will have snatched up some of the last available waterfront on Mud Island, property near the Auction Street bridge that was once thick with trees. Part of the land also was the site of a massive landslide in 2002 and has been at the center of a variety of development schemes over the years.

Landslide victory

The main concept for the Flagship project - four buildings with at least 45 units - is well on its way through the approval process. Over the past few weeks, a flurry of changes and amendments have been made to the plan,which the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board recently approved and which first comes before the Memphis City Council this week.

The condos are going up on 2.65 acres at the southeast corner of Island Drive and Auction Avenue, on a small triangle of property across from the three-story Arbors Apartments complex in Harbor Town. On the other side, Atlanta-based Beazer Homes plans to build 175 townhomes on 19 acres that developer Kevin Hyneman recently sold to the company.

Hyneman also sold about half the Flagship property to a group that includes developer Henry Turley. Current plans for the Flagship project call for touches such as a decorative fountain near Island Drive, a pool and perimeter landscaping.

The project, which will be spread out over several phases, will feature mostly brick units and such amenities as semi-private elevator access.

"It should be nice," said attorney Ronald Harkavy, who's representing the developers. "Anything these guys have done out there has been nice, and they've tried to make others do the same."

Foundation of sand

This afternoon, the City Council will set the date for a public hearing on the Flagship development, which was part of 21 acres of woodsy land Hyneman bought for about $2.6 million in 2001.

"Basically, what the (LUCB) already approved is where we're heading," Harkavy said.

The condo units along Island Drive will range from 1,800 to 2,700 square feet. The units along Auction Avenue will range in size from 1,500 to 2,200 square feet.

The sale and transformation of the small Flagship property marks something of a milestone in Hyneman's career. Along with the larger tract Beazer is developing, it brings to a close Hyneman's involvement in development on Mud Island, where he's built close to 1,000 homes.

One of the most talked about episodes involving Hyneman during that time was the 2002 landslide, which took out a large swath of riverbank.

The landslide was the result of piling excavated dirt on the property that had been brought over from the FedExForum building site, the weight of which ultimately put too much strain on the harbor bank. The landslide occurred on the northeast side of Hyneman's 21-acre property, including a small portion of the Flagship site.

It happened days before a sale of the property was scheduled to go forward with a group that included the Riverfront Development Corp. and developers Turley and Jack Belz.

Since then, the entire site has been the subject of various real estate proposals. Don Jones, a city-county planner, said plans for the Flagship development are still in flux.

"They were approved by the LUCB for 45 condo units, but they want to bring that back up to about 52," he said. "They would also like to have one of the buildings permitted up to five stories."

When it's finished, Flagship Condominiums will enhance an already much-sought-after lifestyle on Mud Island.

Star-spangled home

Today, residents like Dianne Champlin put a premium on the amenities to be found there, where homes are set among well-manicured communities, pedestrian walkways and neighborhood businesses like Miss Cordelia's, a small grocery store with an eat-in deli.

"We love the outside," said her husband, Brad, of the couple's Harbor Town home, "Blithe Spirit." "This is where we have breakfast in the morning. Dianne and I will sit down here with a cup of coffee and a newspaper."

Gesturing toward the panoramic river view, he said: "Isn't that fabulous?"

Among the other recent additions to Mud Island, there's Harbor of Health, a new wellness clinic Dianne said she's eager to try out once she and her husband move to their riverfront home full-time. The 4,500-square-foot home includes features such as a private elevator and handicap accessibility, meaning doorways, for example, are tall and wide.

Dianne also is happily anticipating the Fourth of July, which she and her husband will celebrate with a few friends at their riverfront home.

"This will actually be our second Fourth of July here," she said. She recalled the celebration last year, when families packed the riverfront for picnics, strolled along the water and children played with festive holiday sparklers.

Construction work, meanwhile, remains a constant feature of the quiet life enjoyed on Mud Island by people like the Champlins. Public artwork, for example, soon will be added to a newly built traffic roundabout on Mud Island.

"And I think you should see something happening in the very near future to the south of (the Flagship) site, also," Harkavy said.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Finding Safe Harbor: Beale Street Landing to lay anchor soon

The Daily News [Link to article]
By Andy Ashby

The Riverfront Development Corp. (RDC) has absorbed $500,000 of city budget cuts and appears ready to move ahead on its largest project to date, the $29.3 million Beale Street Landing.

When the Memphis City Council approved the city budget June 6, the RDC received $2.1 million for its operating budget for fiscal year 2007, down 18 percent from $2.6 million last year. The RDC's total operating budget is projected to be $4.2 million, down slightly from last year's $4.3 million.

The RDC was able to fill the city funding gap by reducing expenditures and through a projected revenue increase stemming from the operation of Mud Island River Park. The park includes the 5,000-seat Mud Island Amphitheater.

From disconcerting to concerts

When the RDC took over the amphitheater's operations from the city in 2000, the concert venue made almost no money, said RDC president Benny Lendermon. Last year, eight concerts netted more than $200,000 in profits. Next year, the RDC has a minimum of eight concerts planned, with a potential for more.

The RDC also will not offer raises to its 35 full-time employees next year.

"The normal citizen's experience on the riverfront will not change through these budget cuts," Lendermon said.

The RDC also adjusted the funding structure for its Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs), spreading the city's payments over three years to lessen the impact on each year's budget. Previously, the city was funding Beale Street Landing over fiscal years 2007 and 2008.

Now the money is going to be spread across three years, with the RDC receiving CIP money in fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Beale Street Landing, which features a floating dock and five islands set at varying heights along the Mississippi River, is the biggest project on the RDC's CIP budget.

The millions at high tide

In last year's CIP budget, the project would cost the city $7.2 million in fiscal year 2007 and $12.7 million in fiscal year 2008, with $9.2 million in reprogrammed money, which is state and federal funding.

Under the new CIP budget, the city will pay $2 million in fiscal year 2007, $9 million in fiscal year 2008 and $7.8 in fiscal year 2009. The project now will get $10.5 million in reprogrammed money, as more state and federal funding has been found since last year, Lendermon said.

Once completed, Beale Street Landing will consist of five islands set at different levels of a terrace along the bank of the river and will be connected by bridges. Some of the lower islands will flood occasionally as the water level changes. This will allow visitors to get close to the river.


AYE, AYE: Capt. William Lozier, owner and operator of Memphis Riverboats Inc., is concerned the Beale Street Landing project will cause logistical problems for his fleet of three riverboats. Since it started in 1955, the company has operated from the cobblestones at the foot of Monroe Avenue and Riverside Drive. -- PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW ASHBYA 13,000-square-foot building will be constructed on the northeastern edge of the property with glass windows facing the river. The first floor of the building will be 10,000 square feet and could host a gift shop, a ticket terminal for boating companies and a restaurant. The second floor will have 3,000 square feet for utility equipment.

"That building will house what is one of the missing links for that area now," Lendermon said. "If you're in Tom Lee Park or at the cobblestones, you're a long way from a Coke, a burger or a glass of wine."

Hope floats

The project also features grass planted over the roof of the building, which slopes down on both ends, with one side landing in Tom Lee Park to the south and the other ending in a planned plaza to the north.

The RDC also is planning a 70-space garage under the building. This is down from the initial plan's 100 spots, another cost-cutting move.

Beale Street Landing's total project cost will remain $29.3 million, despite rising construction costs.

"Prices are certainly going up," Lendermon said. "Katrina and fuel prices have greatly increased the cost of this project, although we've committed to build this project for a set amount of money ($29.3 million). We deal with the increased price through changes in the project."

One change will be a shortened floating dock, which will rise and fall according to the Mississippi River's level. The original design called for a 580-foot floating dock. The RDC reduced the dock length by 100 feet to save money.

The reduction made the dock long enough to accommodate large steamboats and excursion boats.

"We felt it wasn't worthwhile to spend another million dollars extending this floating dock when it wasn't needed for the docking of vessels," Lendermon said.

When planning the landing, the RDC also reduced the number of islands at Beale Street Landing from six to five.

The first phase of the landing was completed in August 2005, when Great Lakes Docks and Dredge Inc. widened the point where the Wolf River Harbor meets the Mississippi.

Lendermon said he hopes bidding for the second phase of the landing, which involves building a sea wall to allow for construction of the rest of the project, will begin in early July. The second phase of the project should start in September, with the entire landing scheduled to be finished in early 2009.

Voice of reason

Beale Street Landing would change the appearance of Memphis' riverfront, but some citizens aren't sure it's needed.

Friends for our Riverfront, a nonprofit citizens group, has spoken out about several RDC projects, such as the proposed land bridge to Mud Island and the development of the public promenade area along Front Street. While the organization might seem to be anti-RDC, that's not the case, said Friends president Virginia McLean.

"But in terms of (the Beale Street Landing project), we think they really need to be evaluated in terms of the cost, in terms of the need and in terms of whether it's a good investment," she said. "Is there really a need for Beale Street Landing, or would the cobblestone area we already have, with improvements that could cost less, suffice?"

Capt. William Lozier, owner and operator of Memphis Riverboats Inc., said he also thinks the cobblestones are a better investment. The company has been in Lozier's family since 1955 and always has operated from the cobblestones at the foot of Monroe Avenue and Riverside Drive.

"We like where we're at," Lozier said. "Yeah, we'd like a new facility, but a new facility comes with new problems."

The company operates three riverboats, and Lozier said he has plans to put two more into service next year. Once Beale Street Landing is built, it could add another step to his departures.

"We would have to deal with the logistics of another landing and where the boat is going to disembark from," he said.

Setting sail from good to great

Some Memphians are excited about Beale Street Landing as a terminus for one of the city's most famous streets.

"If you go there today, it's in a dismal condition," said Carol Coletta, host of "Smart City," a nationally syndicated radio show that focuses on urban issues. "It's really no way to treat the Mississippi riverfront of a city that has ambition or pride."

Coletta said she thinks Beale Street Landing could be a key development for Memphis' riverfront.

"I think one of the reasons Beale Street Landing is so important is because it will set the tone from an urban design standpoint," she said. "It will set the standard for everything that comes after it. It doesn't need to just be good, it needs to be great."

Lendermon said he agrees with Coletta and thinks Beale Street Landing will provide a connection to the water that Memphians desperately need.

"You can't physically get to the water anywhere in Memphis except for the cobblestones and many people can't walk on the cobblestones," he said. "This will be a place you can get to the water's edge any time and in a very pleasant way."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Eminent domain law could impact riverfront redevelopment plans

Memphis Business Journal
by Christopher Sheff
Link to article

Eminent domain legislation signed by Gov. Phil Bredesen this week could give renewed hope to those opposing the redevelopment of Downtown property by the Riverfront Development Corp.

Although House Bill 3450 is one of the least restrictive of several bills introduced by lawmakers this past session, certain provisions give landowners some real recourse to having their land taken for economic development purposes, says Kevin Walsh with Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh, who primarily represents landowners in eminent domain disputes.

In the session that just ended, 59 bills were filed by state Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate to limit the use of eminent domain by local governments.

The flurry of activity on the issue was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 ruling in 2005 that found that the New London Development Corp., acting through the City of New London, Conn., had the authority to take homes for a development plan that included a resort hotel and conference center, a new state park, 80-100 new residences and various research, office and retail space. The case is now often referred to as the Kelo Case, named after local homeowner and lead plaintiff Susette Kelo.

"I do think it is a good step toward addressing the Kelo issue in Tennessee," Walsh says.

Walsh says the legislation, which was signed June 5 and is still being digested by the legal community, clarifies the limited nature of public use for the stated purpose of taking a property for economic development.

"That should provide some comfort to owners of property that there is a recognized prohibition of taking property solely for economic development," Walsh says.

Test case in riverfront redevelopment?

Locally, the most prominent case that may test the legislation is the RDC's $50 million plan to remake 6 acres of prime riverfront property that now contain the Cossitt Library, Fire Station No. 1, the old Customs House (future home of the University of Memphis School of Law) and Confederate Park.

Private developments, including three proposed new buildings, would pay for projects like a two-level promenade and the relocation of parking garages underground. The buildings would be mixed-use, with restaurants and shops lining the bottom floors. Ground leases would keep the property under the control of the city. The plan also calls for pedestrian bridges that would stretch across Monroe and Court and for improvements to sidewalks on the promenade. Grand staircases would provide access to the upper level of the pedestrian walkways.

RDC president Benny Lendermon, who says he had not seen the new legislation as of Wednesday, didn't express much concern about the impact of the new law on RDC's redevelopment plan.

While saying that the RDC has hoped to never use eminent domain to obtain property, he says the process "is important for municipalities to grow and prosper."

Eminent domain is not a favorable option because the governing authority often pays much more than the fair market value to get it.

"The courts always make sure the property owner is duly compensated," he says.

But in the case of the property in question, it may be a question of actual ownership.

There has long been a legal dispute about the use of the property and who has the authority to decide it.

The property was apparently donated by the city's founding fathers for use as a public promenade decades ago, although the heirs of the founders reportedly still hold title.

Legal showdown may be afoot

Arguments over aspects of the donated land have gone all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court in the past. Some members of the legal community see another legal showdown brewing between the City of Memphis, RDC and the heirs, chiefly the Overton family, whose name is attached to one of the city's largest recreation areas, Overton Park.

The riverfront land in question "was given to the citizens of Memphis," says Virginia McLean, an Overton heir and president of the Friends for Our Riverfront. "The city acts as a trustee of the land."

It was the intention of McLean's family that the land be used as a public promenade or public open space like Boston Common.

She says she is not against the property being developed and improved, "but the question is who is the land being improved to benefit? Improved for a public promenade or private development?"

Despite Lendermon's stated hope that eminent dominion would not be involved, McLean says she is confident the city plans to initiate eminent domain proceedings.

Lendermon says since the project was approved by the City Council in 2004 there has been little movement due to the city's budgeting problems and other priorities. But with a new budget approved and those problems seemingly behind it, talks can now begin on how to proceed.

"Dealing with the promenade property in the future will be some target on that schedule," he says.

City attorney Sara Hall did not return calls seeking comment.

RDC's first move is with the city

Whatever direction RDC and the city attorney's office take will first come before the City Council's economic development, tourism and technology committee chaired by attorney Dedrick Brittenum Jr., managing partner of Farris Mathews Branan Bobango Hellen & Dunlap PLC.

Brittenum, who joined the City Council in November and has handled eminent domain cases in his practice, says he was briefed on the RDC and progress on the promenade project by Lendermon just two weeks ago.

He says if any eminent domain proceedings are to begin, the RDC would first have to make the request to the city.

Brittenum says he was about to ask Lendermon if RDC planned to take that step when a fire alarm in One Commerce Square abruptly ended the meeting before Lendermon could answer.

"He was, literally, saved by the bell," Brittenum says.

csheffield@bizjournals.com

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Board Meeting

Here are the minutes from the RDC Board Meeting of May 16, 2006.

Click here for a scanned, PDF version [958 KB]. Click the complete article link below to read the text in HTML.


Riverfront Development Corporation
Board Minutes
May 16,2006


The meeting of the Board of Directors of the Riverfront Development Corporation was held on May 16, 2006 at the offices of the Corporation, Falls Building, 22 N. Front Street, Memphis, TN.

Directors Attending: Rick Masson, Greg Duckett, Pete Aviotti, John Bobango, Kemp Conrad, Dianne Dixon, John Farris, Lucia Gilliland, Derrick Joyce, Pat Kerr-Tigrett, Tomeka Hart, James Hunt, Kevin Kane, Bob Lundy, Angus McEachran, John Pontius, Jeff Sanford, Bill Taylor, Sally Thomason, Dan Turley, William Hudson, and Burnetta Williams (by phone).

Directors Absent: John Stokes, Rob Carter, Sara Hall, James Holt, Barbara Hyde, Robert Lipscomb, Lecia Martin, Keith McGee, and Jerry West.

Others Attending: Benny Lendermon, John Conroy, Jay Fuller, Dorchelle Spence, Brenda Adair, Robert Spence, Hite McLean, Diana Threadgill, and John Sheahan.

Call to Order: Chairman Masson called the meeting to order at 8:35.

Roll Call: The Secretary called the roll and a quorum was established. Mr. Masson stated that it has been a greet year for him serving as Chairman of the organization. Mason then acknowledged John Stokes for doing a great job in helping to create and lead RDC to where it is today.

Approval of Board Minutes: Mr. Masson asked for approval of the minutes of the February 17, 2006 board meeting e-mailed to the Directors. James Hunt's motion that the minutes be approved was seconded by Angus McEachran and unanimously approved by the Directors present.

Treasurer's Report: Lendermon explained that RDC has operated under a management agreement with the City of Memphis for the past five years. This contract allowed RDC to operate and manage the riverfront at the same cost the City expended in the year 2000: $2,644,830 per year. Since taking over management of the riverfront, RDC has been successful in saving the City millions of dollars, has secured new federal and state funding for riverfront projects, and has acquired matching grants for its operations.

In renegotiating the management contract for FY2007, RDC has reduced the amount of the contract from $2.6 to $2.1 million due to the City's financial condition. Lendermon stated that a 20% reduction in funding would result in adjustments to RDC's operations. Areas affected are riverfront park maintenance, operations of Mud Island River Park, improvement projects, and employee salaries. Lendermon stated RDC remains committed and is confident that Memphis will continue to have a growing and vibrant riverfront. Staff plans are to ensure that the changes made will have minimal effect on those visiting the riverfront parks.

Bill Taylor presented the FY2007 Proposed Budget incorporating the $2.1 million city funding. The break-even budget shows a surplus of $17,000. Taylor said the Finance Committee recommended acceptance and made a motion to approve the FY2007 Proposed Budget as presented. The motion was seconded by John Bobango, and unanimously approved by the Directors present.

Nominating Committee Reports: In the absence of John Stokes, Chair of the Nominating Committee, Jim Hunt was asked to make presentation to the board. Hunt reported that the board has changed almost completely since its inception six years ago. Only five of the original founding board members are still on the board, and three will rotate off as of June 30, 2006: Sally Palmer Thomason, Dianne Dixon, and James Hunt. John Stokes changed positions and in accordance with the bylaws, this allows additional years to serve on the board.

The committee met earlier to discuss recommendations for appointments to the RDC board. Five current members were recommended for reappointment: Rick Masson, Angus McEachran, and Lucia Gilliland each for a second term of three years: and Mr. Taylor and John Stokes, both for one year.

Recommendations for officers of the board are Chairman, Rick Masson: Vice Chairman, Greg Duckett: Immediate Past Chairman, John Stokes: Secretary, John Farris: Treasurer, William Taylor: Assistant Secretary, Angus McEachran: and Assistant Treasurer, John Pontius.

The RDC maintains liaison Board positions for the enhancement of communications and vital working relationships with the Center City Commission, City Attorney's Office, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Neighborhood Association, MATA, MPact, Memphis In May, UpTown Association, and the Shelby County Mayor's office. The nominating committee recommends that these Ex-officio Board positions be continued for the 2006-2007 year. Individuals to represent each of the offices or agencies will be selected by that office or agency.

The committee also recommended candidates to fill three (3) open positions on the Board. The three candidates are Mary Lynn Perl, Charles Carpenter, and Terry Lynch (biographical information attached). The effective date for the new members is July 1, 2006 with three-year terms.

Hunt also presented a list of Standing Committees chairs and members (attached). The By-laws Committee (John Bobango, Chair): Nominating Committee (John Stokes, Chair): Finance Committee (William Taylor, Chair): and, the Executive Committee (Rick Masson, Chair). Special Committee chairs were also presented as follows: Employee Benefits, Bill Taylor: Strategic Financing, John Pontius: Legal, John Farris: and, the Design Review, Kemp Conrad. The Chair and Vice-Chair of RDC, as officers, serve on the Executive Committee and as ex-officio, voting members of other Standing Committees.

Bill Taylor made a motion to accept and approve the Nominating Committee recommendations as presented: the motion was seconded by Jim Hunt and unanimously approved by the Directors present.

On behalf of the RDC Board of Directors, staff, and the citizens of Memphis, Chairman Masson presented a plaque to each outgoing board member for their dedication and hard work. Masson stated how meticulous Dr. Hunt was in developing the RDC Bylaws and how he helped to establish a sound foundation for the organization. Masson commented that Sally Thomason was very passionate about the mission and goals of RDC, and how she so would always step forward and participate in community forums and other areas.

Masson also commended Diane Dixon for the countless hours she volunteered during the Beale Street Landing International Design Competition that included over 170 entries.

Ms. Dixon stated that she will continue to be active and supportive of the development of the riverfront. Ms. Thomason expressed that it has truly been an exciting privilege to be a part of the initiation of revitalizing the Memphis riverfront. Dr. Hunt also commented that he enjoyed his tenure on the RDC board, it was a wonderful experience working towards the redevelopment of the riverfront. Each of the outgoing members also made comments on the professionalism of the organization in the volunteer efforts of the board and staff.

Pat Tigrett announced that she would host a reception in honor of the three members leaving the board at her downtown home Thursday evening at 6:30.

President's Report: Mr. Lendermon reported that the Mud Island River Park opened in April. This season, the park is even better than it was last year, and the year before. As always, we strive to increase amenities to offer to the visitors. Attendance is up 17% compared to last year, and spending per guest is up 34.5% and the museum revenue has increased by 6%.

Mr. Lendermon reported that the Riverwalk extension behind the Rivermark Condominiums is finished. This section extends the walkway connecting Ashburn Coppock and Martyrs parks. Founder's Pointe and RiverTowers at South Bluffs helped sponsor a ribbon-cutting on April 12 that was well attended.

Lendermon presented pictures of the artwork for the Tom Lee Memorial sculpture. The structure is almost finished and after the Memphis In May Festival, we will start construction of the plaza to house the memorial. A committee made up of RDC staff, the City of Memphis, The UrbanArt Commission and Tom Lee's family members participated in the selection process. They are now working with the artist to develop a theme and characterization to tell the historic story. A ribbon­cutting ceremony will be held upon completion of the project.

The Outdoors Inc. Annual Canoe and Kayak Race was held May 6. This is a large event and that takes place in the harbor and ends at Jefferson-Davis Park. Staff is working on ways to work with Outdoors Inc. to help make the event and even greater.

Tennessee Parks & Greenways: Mr. Masson explained that in August 2003, the RDC Executive Committee agreed to create a partnership with the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation as the missions of the two organizations support one another. Masson then introduced Mr. John Sheahan of the Shelby County Conservation Board, and Diana Threadgill, Project Director of the Mississippi River Natural & Recreational Corridor to the board.

Mr. Sheahan stated that the Mississippi River Natural & Recreational Corridor project was formulated and conceived at the Chamber of Commerce to learn ways to employ and retain people in Memphis and the surrounding areas using our biggest asset, the Mississippi River. Packets were presented to the board containing inserts that describe their project and RDC's endorsement printed on the back cover. The Mississippi River Corridor is dedicated to the economic development, and land and wildlife preservation of the six counties that border the Mississippi River along the western border of Tennessee that includes Shelby County, Tipton, Lauderdale, Dyer, Lake and Obion.

The board viewed a video organized by Dianna Threadgill to promote the project. Ms. Threadgill also announced that a 3-day Mississippi River Corridor Summit would take place in October with professional planners and architects. She asked for RDC's participation and will keep us informed.

New Business: The board also discussed the possibility of the Grand Carousel being relocated to the Mud Island River Park and the need for fundraising.

Chairman's Comments: Chairman Masson announced that the University of Memphis Law School move to U.S. Postal building downtown is now official. Masson is convinced that RDC's involvement along with others helped to bring this to reality. This will be a wonderful addition to downtown, with over 300 students learning, living, working and playing downtown. Masson commended the staff and board members for all of the work done in support of this and other projects.

Adjournment: There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned 9:45 a.m.

Angus McEachran
Assistant Secretary



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