Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert confirms ‘soft opening’ of Riverdale location, Poplar Plaza lease agreement in the works

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 4:17 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2023 at 10:32 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert has confirmed that there will be a ‘soft opening’ for the much-anticipated Riverdale office location.

The long-awaited Riverdale office location will miss its Saturday deadline to open, but Clerk Wanda Halbert announced Friday, they’ll be opening the doors on their new location next week.

The office, which is scheduled to open its doors on June 6, will begin with only four employees working in the location.

Crews and staff are currently working to prep the location for its opening day.

Clerk Halbert told Action News 5 she is excited about this opening, and her staff did not realize the third fell on a weekend.

In an e-mail obtained by Action News 5, special advisor for the clerk’s office and former Memphis City Councilwoman Janet Hooks told Commission Chairman Mickell Lowery Wednesday that the opening of the Riverdale office would be delayed because of a state software vendor contract approved May 15 by commissioners.

Plus, personnel still need to be hired and trained.

Shelby County Clerk's Office Riverdale location
Shelby County Clerk's Office Riverdale location(Action News 5)

The delayed opening is drawing criticism from county leaders, who aren’t satisfied with the clerk.

Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert agreed to have the Riverdale office open by June 3, a Saturday, but instead, Halbert says a “soft” opening will happen Tuesday, June 6.

The clerk says the office won’t be fully operational next week, and only four employees will be working.

“I think there’s still a lot of trouble ahead of the clerk’s office, and I can’t say it enough, we need new leadership for the clerk’s office,” said Commissioner Wright.

Wright and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris have been vocal critics of the clerk.

They say more problems are plaguing the clerk’s office.

“The problems go very deep as well, and unfortunately, there’s a lot to correct even beyond these issues,” said Wright. “I’m just hopeful maybe something changes. Maybe the other commissioners decide that they’ve had enough.”

The Poplar Plaza, Whitehaven, Millington, and Raleigh clerk’s office locations are all in danger of shutting down due to expired or soon-to-be expired leases.

“She hasn’t signed a letter of intent in five years, so naturally over the course of five years, the leases will expire,” said Mayor Harris.

According to the e-mail obtained by Action News 5, Hooks told Chairman Lowery she, Halbert, and members of her team met with the property manager of Poplar Plaza, and a says a lease for a different space in the same shopping center is being negotiated.

“We look forward to maintaining an office there,” Hooks told Lowery.

Hooks is also recommending opening more locations to reduce lines and wait times.

She says they’re looking to put in kiosks for citizens to renew tags as well.

The Riverdale location will have a soft opening Tuesday and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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