Sanford: Coletta brings ‘fresh perspective’ to riverfront

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Most Memphians probably do not keep track of who is in charge of maintaining the city`s riverfront, but residents should be pleased with the news on Monday that Memphis native Carol Coletta is the new president and CEO of the Riverfront Development Corporation.

Coletta will assume the job next month replacing Benny Lendermon who has led the RDC since it was created 18 years ago. They were not 18 years of smooth sailing. The nonprofit agency faced tough public criticism over the years for huge cost overruns at Beale Street Landing and little visible public use of the site.

Others complained that they saw no coherent long-term plan for riverfront development.

While we should not expect Coletta to be a miracle worker, she does bring a fresh perspective along with extensive knowledge of the nonprofit world, urban planning and how to best use public spaces. She has served on the RDC board the past two years and her appointment cut short a national search.

What`s more, Coletta will fill the role as an executive on loan from the Kresge Foundation -where she is a senior fellow - and will continue to be paid by the foundation.

Without question, the riverfront is this city`s strongest public asset, but we have struggled to take full advantage of this priceless amenity.

Hopefully with Coletta at the helm of the RDC, that will begin to change.

Commentary provided by Otis Sanford