City leaders look at Memphis Riverfront Development Corporation

Mud Island is home to fabulous views of the mighty Mississippi and soon a new traffic circle. Known as a roundabout, it's costing Memphis taxpayers some 750-thousand dollars. Some say it's a prime example of how the Riverfront Development Corporation is out of touch.

"We just need to dissolve the RDC at this point in time," says Memphis council member E.C. Jones.

Councilman Jones believes the cash-strapped city can't afford to devote any more money to riverfront development.

"If we dissolved that group at this point in time, we could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries," says Jones.

He says current projects should be put on the shelf. Management and maintenance of riverfront parks could be handled by the city. Pete Aviotti, who works in the mayor's office and sits on the RDC board, disagrees.

"Everybody's sort of grasping at straws to say about saving money," says Aviotti. "But this wouldn't save any money--it would cost more to do what the RDC is doing," he adds.

He says the RDC has already saved nearly two million dollars since it's inception. And the riverfront has seen the dividends.

"And I think just the way that it looks speaks for itself," says Aviotti.

But critics like Jones don't plan to stop their quest to save cash.

"And quit putting money in there where we don't have the money," says Jones.

Jones is not the only council member with sights set on the RDC. Carol Chumney wants all public money pulled from the group. Pete Aviotti doesn't think they stand a chance.