City Budget Plans put RDC back in the News

Most of the headlines dealing with the riverfront in the last couple of years have been about money problems and missed deadlines. Now as the City prepares a budget for next year, it's more of the same.

Saddled with new expenses and a decline in funding sources, officials say the Riverfront Development Corp. faces six-figure budget deficits for years to comeā€¦  - Commercial Appeal 

It all started in 2000 when the Herenton Administration split-off the riverfront properties from other parks city-wide. Except for those on the riverfront, parks became a responsibility of a new City Parks department. Those on the riverfront fell under the control of the newly established Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC).

The Mayor quickly signed a 10 year management contract with the RDC. Under it the City agreed to pay the RDC $2.4M each year for 5 years. During the second 5 years of the contract, the City payment was supposed to decrease and reach 0 in 2010.  (Click HERE & zoom for contract.)

But in 2005 the contract was amended, and annual payments to the RDC did not taper out. (Click HERE for extension).

In addition to direct payments from the City, the contract also entitles the RDC to receive all income generated in the parks, including Mud Island River Park and lease and rental fees from Memphis in May, Memphis Yacht Club, and Memphis Riverboats.