Sunday, November 09, 2008

Project aims to restore Mississippi river flow and aquatic life behind diversion dikes

Memphis Commercial Appeal [link]
By Tom Charlier, Sunday, November 9, 2008

With its Sahara-like dunes and outcroppings of sun-bleached shells that hinted at a richer past, the acreage stretching out behind Ron Nassar and John Rumancik on a crisp fall morning had all the hallmarks of an ecological desert.

Biologist Leighann Gipson surveys the scene near a Mississippi River dike targeted for relief to restore aquatic habitat up and down the river. Photo: Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Herenton, council study options for cutbacks, including buyouts

Memphis Commercial Appeal [link]
By Amos Maki, Sunday, November 9, 2008

As the effects of the global meltdown trickle down to City Hall, Memphis officials are considering employee buyouts and other measures to deal with what could be the city's worst financial year in nearly two decades.

Mayor Willie Herenton and the City Council gathered Saturday at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis for their annual retreat. While the banter was lighthearted at times, the financial scenario laid out by city officials was anything but.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Riverfront plaza to replace lot

Renovation project to include walkway, pedestrian bridge

Memphis Commercial Appeal [Link]
By Tom Charlier, Sunday, October 19, 2008

In a reversal to the old Joni Mitchell tune, a Memphis agency wants to pave over a parking lot and put up a bit of paradise.

Under a project being designed for the Riverfront Development Corp., the parking lot behind the old Custom House and Post Office on Front Street will be transformed into a walkway and plaza on the Downtown bluff overlooking the Memphis waterfront.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Editorial: Time to move on Promenade

If the area isn't properly redeveloped, everyone who cares about the Downtown riverfront will lose

Memphis Commercial Appeal [Link]
Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's time to do something with the Downtown Promenade. Check that. It's time to do something great with the Downtown Promenade.

Prom-e-not? Plans for Downtown Promenade limping

Property's legal status, slow economy present chicken-and-egg quandary

Memphis Commercial Appeal
By Blake Fontenay, Sunday, August 17, 2008

After years of planning, a groundbreaking ceremony was held last month to mark the start of construction of Beale Street Landing, a $27 million-plus boat dock and public gathering space.

The landing is one of the key components of the Riverfront Development Corporation's master plan to draw more people to the Downtown riverfront.

Meanwhile, though, not much has been happening with another major element of the RDC's plan -- the development of a four-block area between Union and Adams avenues that is known as the Promenade.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

RDC CIP Budget Meeting audio

Click the link below to listen to an MP3 audio recording of the City Council committee hearing on the RDC CIP budget on May 21. The recording lasts about 1.5 hours. If you download it to your own computer (in Windows, right-click "Save target as...") the resulting file is about 15.5 MB (megabytes).

Click here for entire 88-minute CIP budget audio (15.5 MB MP3 file). Selected highlight clip(s) below.

Cobblestones Preservation Project

In the course of the CIP budget hearing, there was a 12-minute discussion between Chairman Boyd and Benny Lendermon about the Cobblestones Project. To our knowledge, this is the first detailed discussion in a public forum of what the RDC has been planning. In the course of this discussion, Lendermon makes it clear that the RDC would like to move the riverboat daily-excursion operation away from the cobblestone area and over to Beale Street Landing.

Click here to listen to the discussion or to download it as a podcast (2.2 MB MP3 file).

Click here to read the transcript of this audio.

Barbara Ware asks: When will this all be done?

Click here to listen to the 4-minute discussion or to download it as a podcast (0.7 MB MP3 file).

Shea Flinn asks: Why a new boat dock?

Click here to listen to the 7-minute discussion or to download it as a podcast (1.2 MB MP3 file).

Wanda Halbert asks to understand the Master Plan.

Click here to listen to the 10-minute discussion or to download it as a podcast (1.8 MB MP3 file).

Chairman Bill Boyd asks about a water taxi.

Click here to listen to the 1-minute discussion or to download it as a podcast (0.3 MB MP3 file).

Jim Strickland asks about the parking lot.

Click here to listen to the 3-minute discussion or to download it as a podcast (0.6 MB MP3 file).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

RDC CIP Budget 2009

Click here to download the RDC's CIP budget for 2009 (PDF file, 804 KB).

Friday, May 09, 2008

RDC Operating Budget Meeting audio and partial transcript

Click the link below to listen to an MP3 audio recording of the City Council committee hearing on the RDC operating budget on May 9. The recording lasts about 48 minutes. If you download it to your own computer (in Windows, right-click "Save target as...") the resulting file is about 8.6 megabytes.

Click for operating budget audio. A partial transcript follows below.

Ware Questions Lendermon About Public Promenade

Below is a transcript of Councilwoman Barbara Ware's questioning of Benny Lendermon regarding the status of the Public Promenade. On the full audio, this portion of the meeting starts at 34:10 and runs to 40:33. Click here for just that section of audio [1.2 MB]. Transcript:

WARE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Lendermon, you said something that just kind of aroused my curiosity. You said that you are not involved in anything really with the Promenade. And I thought that the moving forward on the riverfront development, which included the Promenade, was something that Riverfront Development [Corp.] was taking the lead. So what has happened?

LENDERMON: We did. We took the lead on the plan. We were charged to do a master plan for the riverfront and we bought the Master Plan. And, then we also zeroed in on one little of it, based upon the Urban Land Institute's suggestion that this was really important, and we looked at the Promenade. We had this huge public input on what should happen with the Promenade. We brought that plan to the City Council in 2004, May of 2004 I think it was 2004, I'm not so sure of the exact day. 2004. And you approved it in, you know, a very interesting environment, okay. At that point, that was, RDC's challenge at that point was to to take, to us look at what we think ought to happen to that to that[inaudible, bring it to the City, and the City adopted, and at that point , the real issue was in implementing it. RDC can't deal with the legal issues. The legal issues are strictly a City administration process of, the City administration will want to resolve the legal issues that allows that plan that was approved to ever go forward. So, at such point that they do that, I'm sure we will be supportive with the facts that help their legal case just like any other person would do, but we aren't the one to pursue the legal, you know, we don't drive that train.

WARE: So, in other words we're at a legal stalemate on what happens on that plan? Okay, well, somebody else might have been aware of that. I wasn't. I just knew that we hadn't heard anything lately, and it was almost like let sleeping dogs lie. But at some point we need to get it off dead center, and decide to either you're gonna do or not do. I understand the legal issue with the Promenade. But if that is going to be an insurmountable factor, then what's Plan B? I mean do we just leave the riverfront as it is, and say that this is an issue that we can't resolve? Or do you work around it. I mean, and I think that it is in your lap to come back with something. If that's not gonna work, then what will work? We don't need to just leave it, well like it is.

LENDERMON: We are working, we're working with the University Law School. Within your CIP budget, which you'll see at some point, I think our hearing is on the 21st, there's a project in there that deals with improving the area behind the Law School, you know sort of making the back of that building, the front of that building in some sense green, putting up a pedestrian bridge across to Confederate Park and starting this connection here, this sort of a connection that will work under a multitude of environments. That's the beginning of something, whether it ends up being public or the plan that the Council adopted. So that's going forward I think the purpose is...until, I mean, the legal issue needs to be resolved, but it's um, the timing's probably not right to deal with that property anyway. So this is one reason why we're not pushing the City to so something one way or the other cause we think at this point it's probably okay to let it sit there then and let the Law School get put in there, let that drive the Confederate Park and improve that area, let the rest of downtown develop around there and all of a sudden you've got more impetus and more reasons to do something there one way or the other, if you will.

WARE: Okay, now what did you say about Confederate Park?

LENDERMON: Well, I'm getting off the subject, but there's a, in the Capital Improvements Projects there's a project that actually connects, it's improving behind the Law School, building a pedestrian bridge over to Confederate Park, connecting that green space with the Law School, thus tying that whole area together. We hope that whole waterfront's tied together. And it's being done to, because at this time the Law School's wanting to, they have been, I'm getting, I apologize, I'm getting off a little sidetracked here. There's a project which is heavily leveraged with State and private funds, requires some City dollars, to accomplish we think a lot of green space improvements. It doesn't really do much with Confederate Park, it pretty much, it includes a few little landscaping improvements. We don't change much of Confederate Park at all. It's primarily behind the law school.

WARE: Okay. Well I for one would like an update on where we stand on all of this. I don't know who is going to be responsible for bringing that information but I do want the riverfront developed in my lifetime.

LENDERMON: We do a lot...What I suggest, Councilman Ware, is that in the not too distant future that we have a committee meeting where we talk about what's, all the issues, all the things that Riverfront Development's moving forward with now. We'd give you basically an update on everything. That may be helpful.

WARE: Well, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Memphis Landmarks Commission

The Memphis Landmarks Commission meets Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 5:00 pm in City Council Chambers (Lobby) to consider a number of current Certificate of Appropriateness applications. One of them is Beale Street Landing (08-067) in the Cotton Row District. Click for more...

Click here to download the Agenda for the meeting and the Staff Report for Beale Street Landing (PDF, 1.8MB).

Click here to download the Memphis Landmarks Commission Design Review Guidelines, August 1988 (16pp., PDF, 5.8MB).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Benny Lendermon on Smart City

Benny Lendermon, CEO of the Riverfront Development Corporation, was recently interviewed by Carol Coletta on her radio program, Smart City.

Click here to listen to the Lendermon portion of the program We have compressed the file enough that you should be able to listen even on a dialup connection. The MP3, if you wish to download it, is under 5 MB.

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