Ashley Smith named Director of Development
Catherine Nelson named Director of Events
Kelley Runyon named Director of Operations
Waterfront Development Corporation (WDC) officials announced today a strategic realignment that will better position the organization to offset the loss of State funding and reductions in Metro funding. The realignment will enable the organization to heighten its focus on raising the revenue needed to operate and maintain Waterfront Park.
As part of the realignment, Ashley Smith has been named Director of Development, a newly created position responsible for fundraising, strategic partnerships, and public relations. Smith previously served as Director of Events and co-created the popular WFPK Waterfront Wednesday series. Catherine Nelson has been promoted to the role of Director of Events, overseeing more than 150 events that take place in Waterfront Park each year. Kelley Runyon will assume the position of Director of Operations, focusing attention on increasing organizational efficiencies and ensuring the quality of operations.
WDC was created in 1986 by interlocal agreement between state and local government and is responsible for the development, operation and maintenance of Waterfront Park. Initially WDC was fully funded by state and local government, but in recent years the state’s financial support for park operations was eliminated and Louisville Metro’s support has been reduced to only 30% of the park’s operating budget. WDC relies on earned income and donor support to make up the remaining funds necessary to operate and maintain the park.
“WDC is fortunate to have a highly talented group of professionals, and this strategic realignment positions us well for Waterfront Park’s new financial realities,” WDC President Deborah Bilitski said. “I have confidence in each of these individuals as they take on their new and expanded roles and look forward to working with them to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of park.”
Over the past three decades, the Waterfront Development Corporation has been dedicated to bringing the Ohio River back to the people by transforming downtown’s once-blighted waterfront into a vibrant, award-winning public gathering space. Waterfront Park is now one of the most popular destinations in the city, hosting over 2.2 million visitors each year and generating over $40 million in economic impact annually.