Beale Street Landing Opens with 3 Celebrations

Photo by Bianca Phillips @ The Flyer
2,172 days after construction started, fences are down and crews gone from the intersection of Riverside Drive and Beale Street. At a ribbon cutting ceremony, children were welcomed to Play Island, one of the landscaped "pods," signaling completion of the $43M Beale Street Landing project. 

A private reception was held Friday night for 250 people, among them were RDC staff, board members, and three of the project's architects from Argentina.

Photo by Micchael Donahue/The Commercial Appeal
Photo by Michael Donahue/The Commercial Appeal

On Saturday (6/28), all ages braved the thunderstorms for a community celebration from noon to 7 pm with food vendors, aerialists, hip-hop dancers, and all kinds of music.
Valerie's Wings

Here are some links to newspaper coverage of the events:

This Weekend the Riverfront is Open for Us

2 Fun Events on the River this Weekend - Public Input @ Work

Saturday (6/14) 
33rd Annual Outdoors Canoe, Kayak, & SUP Race  
10 am, Mississippi River Park (Riverside Dr. @ Jefferson, by TN Visitors Center)

Sunday (6/15)
Open Streets Celebration 
4 pm on Riverside Drive @ Tom Lee Park

Come enjoy our riverfront. 

Bring your paddle, bike, skateboard, walking shoes, a comfortable chair, the kids, & Dad.

For a long time citizens have been asking for a natural, open, green riverfront that we can use and enjoy. It's exciting to see some of those suggestions coming to fruition. 
Click HERE to read what you said back in 2007 at the 26th Annual Outdoors Inc. Canoe & Kayak Race. 

Join us for a Sunset Stroll along the Mississippi

Join Friends for Our Riverfront
Celebrate National Trails Day 
with a 2-3 mile stroll on Memphis's beautiful Bluffwalk
Saturday, June 7
6:45 - 8:30 pm

Meet at Butler Park for free parking. This entrance to the Bluffwalk is just north of the TN Brewery (495 Tennessee Street). 
No pets, please; but, yes, be sure to bring your camera.

City Pay to RDC @ Highest Level in 13 Years - $2,974,000 Subsidy in City Operating Budget

The Administration proposed and the Council Budget Committee approved a 25% raise for the Riverfront Development Corporation next year, a raise that is, well technically, not a raise. The vote put $2,974,000 in the City Operating Budget to subsidize the RDC at its 13 year high. 

Here's how it worked:
(Click to enlarge.)

At budget time last year, the City Council approved $2,373,859 to pay the RDC to run the riverfront. A year later, the Council Budget Committee voted to pay the RDC $2,974.000 for the same job. The way we figure it, that's a 25% raise.

Now you see it; now you don't.

On April 29, the Council Budget Committee was told: "Basically the Riverfront Development Corporation is presenting a budget that is comprised of the aggregate amount that has been funded in prior years. There will be some who will say that there was an increase to last year's budget but as members of the Council will recall the initial request from RDC was the amount that ultimately ended up being funded through the budget adjustment as part of last year's budget adjustment and that amount is a total of $2,974,000."

The budget adjustment had taken place a month earlier, in March. The Council had amended the operating budget to pay the RDC an extra $600,000 to cover RDC shortfalls. That brought the aggregate payment to the RDC up to $2.974,000, the highest City subsidy ever paid to the organization. In approving $2,974,000 for the RDC next year, the City in reality will be paying the RDC an extra $600,000 for both years.

The chart below shows how much money the City has paid RDC on July 15 of each year starting in 2001.  These amounts are direct subsidies from the City to the RDC solely to run the riverfront and do not include any money for capital projects, any equipment loans, or any income to the RDC from rental and lease of public facilities and parks on the riverfront.

(Click to enlarge)
As they search for ways to avoid tax increases and places to cut the budget, the Council has voted to delay the final approval of all budgets until June 17. You can send suggestions and comments to individual Councilmembers or all Councilmembers via email, HERE.

The chart information is from the City/RDC Contract (2001), the City/RDC Contract (as amended 2006), and online City Operating Budgets