Jeff Syracuse

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Donelson TOD Call To Action

The heart of Donelson can be revitalized to include a new Branch Library as the civic anchor for a new, walkable Donelson Plaza town center along with a transformed Donelson Station from a parking lot to an active walkable village.
 
We all want the heart of Donelson to be a vibrant place with unique character that celebrates our history and includes renewed opportunities to invest in places to shop, work, live, learn and play.
We have a great opportunity to make this happen, but I need your help!
 
Contact Metro Council today to express your support for the Donelson Transit Oriented Development District.
Please email councilmembers@nashville.gov and ask my Colleagues to vote YES on BL2018-1139!

Donelson Urban Overlay in Downtown Donelson

Donelson Station in Downtown Donelson

The Donelson Transit Oriented Development District (“TOD”) helps fulfill the vision for our community that we expressed in 2009 when we enacted the “Downtown Donelson” Urban Design Overlay.  The Donelson TOD is built on this foundation and is supported by enabling bipartisan State legislation passed by our own State Senator Steve Dickerson and State Representative Darren Jernigan.

Facts about the Donelson TOD and the future of our Music City Star Donelson Station:

  • Helps focus transit-oriented, mixed-use development supporting Donelson Station and the area around it.
  • Fosters an environment to build and preserve affordable housing options within walking distance to Donelson Station.
  • Locates and supports modernization of Donelson Station to be well-lit, visible and accessible by all.  Promotes transit options from Donelson Station to the Nashville Airport.
  • Provides for new public improvements that will benefit everyone such as the new Donelson Branch Library, improved Donelson Station and walkable options for recreation, shopping and urban living.
  • Uses the Urban Design Overlay standards for harmonious rehabilitation of existing buildings amongst new development and moves away from disjointed development.
  • Prohibits new alternative financial service businesses (i.e. cash advance / payday loan) and non-owner occupied Short Term Rentals.
  • Solidifies the Design Review Committee makeup to include two representatives from 15th District neighborhoods as well as a property owner in the TOD district who are appointed by the 15th District Council Member.
  • Promotes & creates safer roads, walkways, Greenways and accessibility to Donelson Station, focusing on new sidewalks, updated crosswalks & better lighting.

 
The State legislation authorizes the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency to use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to support transit infrastructure, economic development and affordable housing to keep Donelson attainable for families, seniors and hardworking Nashvillians with the skyrocketing costs of housing.  TIF has typically been used as an incentive for big business.  It’s time that we focus these economic development incentives on MAIN Street instead of WALL Street.  This is Community Building, not Corporate Welfare!
 
Please email Metro Council today (councilmembers@nashville.gov) and ask them to vote YES on BL2018-1139!

Best,

Councilman Jeff Syracuse

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Donelson Non-Profit News - July 2018

I was very happy to visit and enjoy lunch with the Stones River Women’s Club at Two Rivers Mansion.  I appreciated the opportunity to share what’s going on in the community and thank them for all their great work taking good care of the interior of Two Rivers Mansion. 

Stones River Womens Club

Stones River Womens Club

The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion were the recipients of an Architectural Award by the Metro Historic Commission for their work restoring the 1802 Buchanan – Harding Home, which is the original brick home on the property.  If you haven’t yet toured the property, now is a great time, especially as part of the Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market on Friday’s.  Below is Friends of Two Rivers Mansion Founder and President Emeritus (and former 15th District Council Member) Phil Claiborne accepting the award presented by Mayor David Briley, Metro Historic Executive Director Tim Walker and Metro Historic Commission Chair Jim Forkum.  Also below are flyers about upcoming events and a membership special.

Two Rivers Mansion Architectural Award

Two Rivers Mansion Architectural Award

I’m very proud of my son Joey for doing his Eagle Project for Two Rivers Mansion.  Down the hill on the other side of the Greenway is the original spring house, carriage house and trail loop.  Joey built a bridge as part of the trail going over a natural spring.  It turned out great.  He and his grandfather were the engineers and his Scout Troop 777 helped with the build.  Soon there will be directional signage to the Spring House Trail Loop.

Eagle Project for Two Rivers Mansion

Eagle Project for Two Rivers Mansion

Thanks to work of Donelson’s VFW 1291 and Semper Sliders, Nashville is going to experience the debut of Nashville Patriot Fest at Nissan Stadium during the weekend of July 27th.  What was envisioned to be a pragmatic first ever event, the outpouring of support for this has made it poised to be a phenomenal weekend supporting our military, first responders, teachers, nurses and all who serve to protect and support families.  Proceeds will support non-profits who support these Patriots.  Special thanks to Semper Sliders owner Zach Jenkins and the whole team who has organized this.  Please check out the link above for more info and to buy tickets.

Congratulations to the Friends of Buchanan Station Cemetery for raising the funds for this bench at Buchanan Station Cemetery.  The cemetery will be on a future stretch of the Mill Creek Greenway and this will be a great opportunity to stop and learn about a fundamental aspect of Nashville history here.  Photo credit to Joe Cathey.

Friends of Buchanan Station Cemetery

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Donelson School News - July 2018

Metro School is hiring Crossing Guards.  If interested in applying for a position, please call 615-862-7752.  Thank you!

Check out these pictures from STEAM Camp (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) at Margaret Allen Middle School, which was funded by a grant from Dell here in Nashville.  These kids had a great time and learned new skills.

Margaret Allen STEAM Camp

Margaret Allen STEAM Camp

Margaret Allen STEAM Camp

Pennington United Methodist Church is collecting backpacks and school supplies for Pennington Elementary during the month of June and end with a “Home of the Brave” patriotic concert at the church on Sunday, July 1st at 5pm.  For a list of supplies, visit their website here.

Congratulations to McGavock High School, who was awarded five awards at the 8th Annual Academies of Nashville Awards:

  • Academy Teacher of the Year: CTE or Thematic Pathway

Jessie Lumpkins, Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Life Sciences & Law at McGavock High School

  • Academy Teacher of the Year: General and Global Education

Scott Fisher, The Academy of Aviation & Transportation at McGavock High School

  • Externship Project of the Year

Aegis Science Corporation and the Aegis Sciences Corporation Academy of Life Sciences & Law at McGavock High School

  • Academy of the Year

The Academy of Aviation & Transportation at McGavock High School

  • Academy Partnership of the Year: Arts, Media and Communications

Rocketown and the Academy of Digital Design and Communication at McGavock High School

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Donelson Business News - July 2018

Congratulations to Masonry Specialty Contractors on the groundbreaking of their new building at 2540 Park Drive.  Thanks to Greg Holland and his team for investing in Donelson and expanding their business.

Masonry Specialty Contractors come to Donelson!

Spot’s Pet Supply & Dog Wash is coming to Donelson!  They’ll be located at 2412 Lebanon Pike where Trojan Labor used to be.  The building is looking like their signature Dalmatian (spots painted by Two Rivers Middle school students).  They will open July 1st and their grand opening party will be Saturday, July 14th. 

Check out this great coming soon video showing the progress of the building.  Thanks to Andy & Chad Baker for investing in Donelson!

Thanks to the Music Valley Merchant’s Association and Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation for putting together a Music Valley – Traditions of Nashville Package to market tourism and hospitality in Music Valley.  Spread the word to your family and friends who are visiting here to take advantage of this opportunity.

A new business in the Music Valley area is AxeVentures.  That’s right.  Axe throwing!  Kind of like darts, but more exciting.  They offer leagues and more.  Check them out.

Zulema’s Kitchen opened their second location here in Donelson at the corner of Graylynn Drive / Lebanon Pike and has been a big hit.  Read more about them here in this article in the Tennessean.

Caliber Coffee has been another big hit since they opened.  Their food and coffee are delicious.  Give them a try!

Party Fowl should be open by the end of July.  The build-out is coming along great.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - July 2018

I was honored to present a proclamation to Roland White as he turns 80-years young and was recently inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame.  Congratulations, Roland!  Be sure to catch one of Roland’s shows at Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace and at the legendary Station Inn.

Proclamation for Roland White

I will be having a community meeting on Thursday, July 19th at 6pm at Lakewood Baptist Church at 400 Donelson Pike for Woodberry Park neighbors in regards to a rezoning proposal of Donelson Pike 222-228, the four single family homes that have mostly been abandoned over the past few years.  There is a proposal for a mixed-use development.  Below is a preliminary schematic of the proposal.

Donelon Pike Mixed Use Plans

The Fairway Drive Sidewalk Project is finally underway!  As you drive on Fairway Drive, please take caution and slow down.  Currently, Piedmont Natural Gas is relocating a gas line.  It should take several months to complete.

Thanks to everyone who attended our community meeting at Grace Church of the Nazarene regarding the non-owner occupied short term rental that had a huge party and an AK-47 was used to shoot up the house.  Thanks to Commander Preston Brandimore, Sergeant Jeff White and the detectives working the case for updating neighbors on the status of the investigation.  Thanks as well to Codes Director Bill Herbert for coming to explain steps taken as well as the impact of the newly enacted State legislation, which limits the authority of what action we can take now in regards to STR’s.  The positive tangible step that came out of the meeting is the beginnings of forming a more solid communication network for Miami Avenue residents and hopefully a formal Neighborhood Watch.

Thanks to 15th District Beautification Commissioner Michele Mazzu for hosting a “Dirt on Composting” community forum at FiftyForward Donelson Station.  Here is more information on composting from Metro as well as Compost Nashville has a lot of information on their site as well.

The Dirt On Composting at FiftyForward Donelson Station

Michelle continues these educational community meetings on Saturday August 4th at FiftyForward Donelson Station with a Recycling 101, which is a class that presents an overview on the importance of waste reduction and ways that waste reduction can be met – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!  This will touch on each area for waste reduction, what Public Works is doing and what resources are available city- wide.

Congratulations to Abbington Park HOA President Rick Cowan for being appointed by Mayor Briley to serve on the Emergency Communications District Board.  Below is Rick and family meeting with Mayor Briley prior to his confirmation by Metro Council at our June 19th meeting.

Abbington Park HOA President Rick Cowan Appointed by Mayor Briley

For those in and around Abbington Park, the annexation from GSD to USD will be implemented this year.  Here is the schedule of implementation.

I continue to work on Traffic Calming efforts a great deal.  Sunset View is currently being studied and Colonial Circle is a narrow road that is used often as a cut through and needs support.  Neighborhoods that are part of the Traffic Calming Program will continue to be studied to evaluate if what was installed is working and if anything further needs to be done.  Woodberry Park is also being studied and as part, Lakeland Drive will be reduced from 35 MPH to 30 MPH.  Additionally, Hargis Heights (Stinson Road) will be studied and McGavock Pike in front of Kroger has become quite congested and the speed limit there would benefit everyone from being lowered.

Thanks to Merry Oaks neighbors for coming to Donelson Presbyterian Church to learn about the multi-family proposal at the corner of Briley Parkway / Lebanon Pike.  Overall, the feedback from neighbors was positive.  These will be market-rate and for-sale product.  They’ll only be accessible from Lebanon Pike and not be accessible from within the Merry Oaks neighborhood.  As of the writing of my newsletter, nothing has been filed yet, but once it is, it’ll go through the standard rezoning process of three readings at Council (second is public hearing) and the Planning Commission as well (also a public hearing).  Conceptual renderings are below.

Blue Hills Condos Plans

 

Proposed Blue Hills Condos

 

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August 2nd Election, FY 18/19 Budget Challenges, Donelson TOD and Library Update, Floodway Buffer Legislation and Much More

Dear Friends –

Well, I must start this newsletter with an apology.  I try hard to send out a newsletter every 4-6 weeks or so.  My last one was sent April 30th.  It’s been an extraordinarily busy 2018 with some big challenges in Metro Government.  I was very happy to see David Briley win the special Mayoral election with enough support that meant we did not need a run-off election, which would’ve cost the tax payers an additional $1 million.  Very frustrating that we even needed to spend the $1 million.  Now that the Mayoral special election is behind us, we now turn our attention to a special election for Vice Mayor, which thankfully is being included in the normal August 2nd election. 

In a consistent manor that I supported David Briley because of his strong institutional knowledge and much needed stability he brings to the Mayor’s Office, I’m also supporting Sheri Weiner for Vice Mayor, who is currently already in the seat because Council elected her as our President Pro Tempore last year, who is there to serve as Acting Vice Mayor in situations like the one we are in now.  As a new Council Member, Sheri was always there to support and encourage me as I learned the intricacies and operations of Metro government.  She is a strong leader who asks the tough questions, gets to the bottom of challenging issues and knows how to take decisive action.  Get to know Sheri and join me in supporting her.

I’m also supporting Bill Beck for re-election as our District 51 State Representative.  Bill is all about people over politics.  The main residential portion of our 15th District for Metro Nashville that is in Bill’s State House District is the west side of Pennington Bend Road.  The rest of the 15th District is in Darren Jernigan’s House District 60.  Darren doesn’t have an opponent and I believe that is a reflection of the fantastic job he is doing representing us.  Let’s keep both of these good public servants in office.

Early voting will start July 13 for the August 2nd Election Day.  Below is the voting schedule for August 2nd.

Early Voting Schedule for August 2 2018

One of the biggest (and most frustrating) challenge we’ve been facing is with the FY18/19 budget.  These should be the good years with revenues flowing as we grow faster than most cities in the U.S. and third in job growth.  So, why are we experiencing a revenue shortfall?  We have roughly a $34 million revenue shortfall.  $26 million of that is due to the fact that property values have gone through the roof as evidenced by the every four-year appraisal we just went through.  There were many successful challenges to the appraisals that were decided by the Board of Equalization and most of the budget revenue associated with the successful appeals were from large commercial properties.  About $8 million of the revenue shortfall is because of decreasing enrollment in our schools, therefore reduced State funding.  I cannot in good conscious vote for a property tax increase, although that was one of the budget proposals before us.  There are no easy answers.  I am equally frustrated that the budget I supported is not able to fund the promised Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to Metro employees.  It’s not right, but that hard decision that I chose to make was to not fix these budget challenges on the backs of Davidson County property owners.  Generally what happens after a regular property appraisal and the rate drops to make the process revenue neutral (per State law), the Mayor and Council will raise the rate up a bit to take into account appeals and additional city expenses associated with growth, schools, new infrastructure, etc.  That did not happen last year.  Perhaps it should have.  We certainly have work to do in improving our budget forecasting processes.  Our budget challenges will not go away.  We have a few challenging years ahead of us I believe.

The Donelson Transit Oriented Development District was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on June 28th. It is currently scheduled for third and final reading on July 17th, but it first has to go to the MDHA Board for approval of an amendment I put forth regarding the structure of the Design Review Committee that reviews development proposals. Currently, the DRC is managed by MDHA for the 12 current redevelopment districts downtown. My proposed amendment to the MDHA Plan would give our community a solid seat at the table with the DRC and make it function like any other Board or Commission with nomination by the Mayor and oversight by Council. I think this is fair and follows the spirit of the intent of the State authorizing legislation by State Rep Daren Jernigan and State Senator Steve Dickerson to make this more of a partnership between MDHA and the local community where the TOD is. They have written a letter to MDHA to that fact as well. I also have an amendment that differentiates non-owner and owner-occupied short term rentals. Non-owner short term rentals should appropriately be in the prohibited use. Owner-occupied would still be allowed. I’ve been taking the slow and steady approach to this legislation, especially because it’s the first of its kind. I believe that approach is paying off and tweaks and updates to it have improved it. If the MDHA Board approves my amendment, it may need to come back to Council for a public hearing, so I’m still figuring out what dates for future Council meetings that would be. I’ve been very patient with this and committed to getting it right. Additionally, as part of discussions, a MOU was signed between MDHA and Metro Planning to take time and further study the Design Review Process of all redevelopment districts in Nashville by hiring a consultant to review best practices across the U.S. Any further improvements to the process to help streamline red tape would then come back to Metro Council and the MDHA Board for approval.

Now that legislation for our new Donelson Branch Library has passed that detailed the purchase of a portion of Donelson Plaza where it will be constructed, the surrounding infrastructure and financing arrangement as part of the Plaza master plan with Holladay Properties, we’re ready to start the community engagement process to discuss the new library, its design, programming, etc.  I posted on Facebook to begin to solicit community members who are passionate about the library and want to be at the forefront of community engagement.  I received great response.  If you’re interested, please let me know.  There will community wide meetings towards the end of September.  Stay tuned for more info.

Over the past couple of years, increased interest in developing along the Cumberland River in the Pennington Bend area has resulted in variance requests at the Board of Zoning Appeals and Stormwater Committee to build larger.  Variances are required because there are two buffers next to the floodway – Zone 1 (50 feet from the floodway) and Zone 2 (75 feet from the floodway).  Zone 1 is designated as a “Do Not Disturb” area but the Metro Code allows variances to be decided by the Stormwater Committee.  In my opinion, this is a dangerous and irresponsible practice to try and secure a variance in an area that is directly next to the floodway and designated a “Do Not Disturb” zone.  As your Councilman, it’s my job to look at how our policies and laws impact our community 10-20 years out or more.  If we allow variances and rebuild to the level of density we had pre-May 2010 flood, we will be enabling the level of destruction we saw.  That flood also resulted in large amounts of shoreline to be destroyed, reducing the level of developable property.  This is an inherent risk of owning riverfront property.  Therefore, I have legislation that will make the 50-foot buffer permanent without option to receive a variance to build in the “No Disturb Zone”.  Here’s an article in the Tennessean about this.  Below is a map that illustrates the floodway, buffers and more.  You can access this information from Metro Property Maps.  Turn on the Stromwater filter and you’ll need to adjust the opacity to better see the buffers.

Cumberland River Floodway Map

Thanks to everyone who participated the Lebanon Pike Study, focusing on future growth and preservation along Lebanon Pike from Spence Lane to Briley Parkway.  As “Downtown Donelson” begins to grow, it’s very important for the transitional area between downtown and Donelson to be well planned and guide proper growth and development.  All information is at the link above.  It passed the Planning Commission on June 28th.

I’m pleased that we will finally be cutting the ribbon on the McGavock Pike Boat Ramp at the end of McGavock Pike where it intersects with Pennington Bend Road.  It will be on Saturday, July 28th at 10am.  Mayor Briley, Vice Mayor Weiner and other community leaders will join us to cut the ribbon and open the boat dock to the public to start using if to launch non-motorized boats on the Cumberland River.

Metro is putting together a Davidson County Long Term Solid Waste Master Plan and is looking for feedback.  Please review all information here and there are survey links on the website.  This is an important aspect of ensuring we manage our growth sustainably.

I have been gathering facts and discussing what we all recently learned about as it relates to emergency medical services operations at three Nashville Fire Department stations in Davidson County.  I have discussed this with Mayor Briley, Chief Will Swann, IAFF Nashville Local 140 President Mark Young and stopped by Station 28 to sit and listen to the perspective of those serving there as well.

First, I want to address one thing that started this and prompted the media to do a story.  This began because of one member from NFD Station 28 violating NFD social media policy by posting on Hip Donelson and venting from his personal Facebook page about NFD operational decisions.  His action was inappropriate.  I heard from a lot of my neighbors immediately after that post very confused and fearful.  I refuse to react emotionally or come to a quick judgment about any issue with which I don’t have all the facts and perspectives.  Here are the facts I’ve learned from NFD:

  1. 1. Our NFD is not phasing out personnel. They are reallocating the Advanced Life Support (ALS) personnel to the outlying parts of the county where there is a greater need for ALS appratus because of distance.
  1. 2. The program of putting Paramedics on engines was instituted years ago because there was not as many ambulances in service. It was 19 at the time and now we have 28 medic units. The increase of medic units decreases the need for ALS Engines in the urban area.
  1. 3. All fire companies have EMTs and Advanced EMTs. Every Nashville fire fighter is an EMT or Advanced EMT and they are capable of treating patients with quality care.
  1. 4. Engine 28’s ALS unit will not transition to a Basic Life Support (BLS) unit in the near future. They will reassign the firefighter-paramedics to remaining ALS Engines through attrition. No one is being phased out or let go during this process.
  1. 5. Response times will not be impacted by this transition because fire fighters will continue to respond to medical calls.
  1. 6. This was a decision made several months ago and was not a function of the current budget. This was a plan that would have been implemented regardless of the budget passed recently by Metro Council.

I appreciate the input and guidance from Mark Young, President of IAFF Local 140 on this issue.  I agree we never want to see any reduction of service at any station or negative impact to NFD personnel pay rates.  Operational decisions should never compromise the level of care we receive and I will continue to support our NFD leadership who are confident this is not happening.  I do empathize and have concerns about how this potentially impacts pay rates for certain NFD personnel and stability of being able to stay at the fire hall and community they love to serve.  Leading a large county-wide Fire Department is certainly not an easy task and hard decisions have to be made, especially with the growth we are experiencing.  That should also mean our budgets need to reflect a consistent top priority to public safety and I will continue to advocate strongly for that.

Nashville MTA is now WeGo Public Transit.  The new image is part of a process that started with the adoption of the nMotion plan in 2016, and included extensive interviews and focus group testing of current riders, prospective riders, residents, business, and community leaders in Nashville, all of whom are affected by the ever-growing mobility concerns in a rapidly growing city.  It is just one part of their continuing efforts to improve public transit in Nashville as laid out in the nMotion plan, which includes a number of service enhancements as well as improvements to the customer experience.  Here’s an image of a new bus.

We Go Transit in Nashville TN

Best,

Councilman Jeff Syracuse

 

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Donelson Business News - April 2018

The Belair Mansion’s final site plan will go to the Planning Commission on April 26.  It will be a bed and breakfast and the original site plan is scaled back and does not have an entrance/exit on Revere Place.  Below is the site plan.

Site Improvement Plans for Belair Mansion

I’m thankful that TN Quick Cash lost their appeal at the Tennessee State Court of Appeals.  They can still appeal to the State Supreme Court and I continue to monitor this and will keep you all posted.

The Taste of Donelson-Hermitage will be on April 23rd and held at the Hilton Nashville Airport from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.  See flyer below for details.

Taste of Donelson Hermitage

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Donelson Non-Profit News - April 2018

The 2018 Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market season is almost here!  It kicks off May 4th.  There are always needs for volunteers and sponsors to support the market.  Please visit the website to volunteer and learn about sponsorship opportunities.  Thanks to everyone for your continued support of the market.  I look forward to this being the biggest season yet at the new location at Two Rivers Mansion!

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Donelson School News - April 2018

The Mayor’s Art Show featuring artwork from McGavock cluster students will be at the Frist Art Museum on April 12th at 5pm.  See flyer below for details.

Mayors Art Show - Nashville Public Schools

I was very happy to attend the 2nd Annual McGavock Cluster Coalition Breakfast supporting scholarships for eligible McGavock High School Students.  Thanks to Lady Antebellum keyboardist and Musical Director Jonathan Long for speaking, who is also a McGavock alumnus.  The students did a phenomenal job serving the breakfast, hosting the event and providing entertainment.  I encourage everyone to support this annual breakfast.

McGavock Coalition Breakfast

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Donelson Neighborhood News - April 2018

The Neighborhoods Resource Center is launching their inaugural Conference for Neighborhoods on April 14th.  One of the breakout sessions is called “From Neighborhood Leader to Metro Council Member” and pleased to join District 34 Councilwoman Angie Henderson and District 6 Councilman Brett Withers on this panel.  There are other breakout sessions and panels, so I encourage anyone currently involved or interested in being involved in your neighborhood to look into attending this conference.

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Our Donelson Library is Finally Moving Forward, an Update on the Donelson Transit Oriented Development District and a Day of Trewth to Honor Frank

Dear Friends –

It’s been a long time coming…  When I was first elected, I became aware that Donelson was at the top of the list as part of the strategic plan for our library system that identified the needs as far as facilities and services throughout the county.  Our Donelson Library was celebrating a bittersweet 50th Anniversary at the time, knowing that its 5,500 square feet built in 1965 had become insufficient for proper 21st century library services, which have grown far beyond just about being about books.  21st century libraries are community centers with modern technology and places to access multi-media elements such as music, movies and the internet.  As discussions began about a new library, so were discussions of how to implement our Urban Design Overlay, which envisioned a walkable, mixed-used, transit-oriented future.  It occurred to me that if we are to reimagine the heart of Donelson as a walkable town center, what the vision truly needed was a civic anchor at the heart of it.  Also during that time going back a couple years prior when I was President of the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce I began a focus of trying to find a new owner for Donelson Plaza.  Holladay Properties stepped up in a big way and embraced the vision for the heart of Donelson and also agreed to begin working with Metro towards the possibility of incorporating our new Donelson Library as part of their plans for the Plaza’s future, which is also an aging property that is a prime opportunity for bringing the vision of the community to fruition.  Since we don’t have a town square per say, centrally locating the new library was important as an anchor.  The former Castner Knott / Ace Hardware location of the Plaza seemed perfectly situated.  As these discussions continued, the JB Estille Road sidewalk project became an important aspect to implement as a boulevard-style pedestrian-friendly street that would ultimately connect the new Library with Donelson Station (which is another project that has been moving forward that will be discussed in more detail in the months ahead with community engagement as it takes shape).

My heartfelt thanks to Holladay Properties and the many Metro Offices and Departments (Mayor’s Office, Library, Finance, Legal, General Services, Water, Public Works, Planning, and Arts) that worked together towards creating a very special opportunity for Donelson to build us a new beautiful 25,000+ square foot library.  It was a complex project that took some time to engineer and cost out all the various infrastructure elements and including how to structure the financing arrangement.  As you know, we have been going through meetings regarding our potential Transit Oriented Development District.  One costly element of this project was the entire related infrastructure around the library to include a relocated Cliffdale Road connection, sidewalks, shared parking, storm water and other relocated upgraded NES, Piedmont Gas, AT&T and Comcast utilities.  One element of the TOD District is the availability of Tax Increment Financing, which allows a developer to invest more into the project in lieu of deferred property taxes that will be higher as a result of what the new development will generate.  The TIF financing availability is there to incentive infrastructure, economic development and affordable and workforce housing.  The expense of the infrastructure around library was a perfect first opportunity to utilize the TIF availability and rejuvenate the heart of Donelson.

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Donelson Non-Profit News - October 2017

The annual Halloween at the Mansion event is coming on Saturday, October 28th at Two Rivers Mansion. Trick or Treating, haunted basement, hayrides, pumpkin painting, food, music and more will make for a great tradition in the community. The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion is also seeking vendors for a $50 tax-deductible donation to the Friends group. They will supply the candy this year. See posters below for more details.

Halloween at the Mansion 1

Halloween at the Mansion 2

Mark your calendars for the annual Holy Rosary Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, November 18th. This is always a popular yearly event and this year they’ve added food trucks and entertainment. See poster below for more details.

Holy Rosary Christmas Bazaar

Larry Keeton Live Music Series Blues Night Of Music

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Donelson School News - October 2017

A wonderful story by News Channel 5 highlighted a real hero among our teachers. Tina Noel at Donelson Middle School has truly gone above and beyond to take care of her kids. Her classroom now has a food bank to help ensure none of her kids go hungry. If you'd like to contribute, you may bring donations to the front office. Call the school at (615) 884-4080 for more info.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes at McGavock High School is hosting their Fields of Faith event on Wednesday, October 25th at 7pm. It will be hosted on the football field. See poster below.

Fields of Faith

Remington College at 441 Donelson Pike is offering a very nice scholarship for civil servants, first responders, law enforcement officers, active military, reservists or government agency employees. See poster below for more info.

Remmington College scholarships

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Donelson Business News - October 2017

Sindoore – Indian by Nature opened up recently in Donelson to rave reviews. It’s located at 457 Donelson Pike and the food is delicious. I encourage everyone to try it!

I was honored to be at the ribbon cutting for SmART Supplies, which supports Progress, Inc. Big thanks to State Representative Bill Beck for attending as well. Thanks to the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce for being part of the event.

SmART Supplies

This is welcome news for District 15, which has a small part of 37217 along Spence Lane and Murfreesboro Pike. It is designated as a Tier One Center as part of Nashville Next, which means it’s a focus to create a walkable, transit-friendly area to grow sustainably. Murfreesboro Pike is slated to be a mass transit line from Rutherford County and possibly also as a connection from the airport.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - October 2017

I’ve received some inquiries regarding NES changing out meters. They are gradually switching from analog meters, which are no longer manufactured, to digital meters. NES has used digital Encoder Receiver Transmitter (ERT) meters (often called smart meters) since the late 1990's. They began installing AMI meters (often also called smart meters) in early 2012. They are currently at 75% deployment after a slow rollout that will hopefully be completed by 2020. AMI technology, supplied by Landis and Gyr, enables the meters to be read remotely, so meter readers do not have to enter a customer's property every month. This two-way communication with the electric grid improves service and power reliability for customers and helps NES better manage the energy load on our system. All meters used by NES meet applicable safety standards. They have been approved by the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates radio frequency emissions nationally, and follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) radio frequency standards. The radio frequencies emitted by AMI meters are much lower than cell phones, cordless phones or baby monitors. In addition, the data received from AMI meters is no different than the information they currently have access to. The only change is that it is remotely reported to NES daily rather than once a month. Meter upgrades are happening over various parts of the service area and customers are notified by mail before the switch out takes place. NES offers a temporary deferral option to allow customers to opt-out of receiving an AMI meter for a monthly fee. Customers can call NES Customer Relations at 615-736-6900 to request an AMI deferral form. Alternatively, NES residential customers may hire an electrician to mount a new meter pedestal and base away from their home in close proximity to the street to install the AMI meter. For additional information, visit their webpage here.

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273 Hits

Transit Plan, Short Term Rentals, Major League Soccer, Recommend Infrastructure for Pennington Bend and the Full Story on the Dancing Lights of Christmas

Dear Friends –

Mayor Barry announced the comprehensive transit plan and proposal for what taxes would support it to Council Members on Tuesday, October 17th and was in conjunction with the Tennessee Public Transportation Association annual conference at Music City Center. The proposal will not include any property tax increase. The passage of the IMPROVE Act earlier this year by the State Legislature, in addition to funding road and bridge projects across the state, authorized local government to collect surcharges on various taxes and fees currently being assessed by the local government, if approved by voters by referendum. Metro will seek federal grants where available, while also proposing four surcharges to fund the project implementation and long-term maintenance of the system.

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  260 Hits
260 Hits

Donelson Non-Profit News - September 2017

Fifty Forward Donelson Station will be hosting a casino night in support of the center.  See details in the flyer below.

Casino Night at Fifty Forward Donelson Station

Grace Story Church is a new church for Donelson and is “a community where everyone is welcome because there’s no one to impress and nothing to prove.  To put it simply, we’re a community defined by grace.”  They launch their services on Sunday, September 17th at 4pm and they’re located at 400 Donelson Pike in the building by the playground.  Visit their website at the link above for more info.

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226 Hits

Donelson School News - September 2017

Last newsletter I wrote about the situation of the delay at Pennington Elementary School’s expansion and renovation.  This past month I’ve also been made aware of the need for repair and upgrade of sidewalks and crossings around the school.  I’m engaged with Public Works and MNPS and they are looking into this.  I hope to be able to share progress in subsequent newsletters.

Speaking of sidewalks, the good news to share is that as you probably have seen if you traverse McGavock Pike, the sidewalks connecting McGavock High School onto McGavock Pike are being installed.  I’ve asked for that for a long time.  I also have a Capital Improvement Budget request for a sidewalk on McGavock Pike to at least for now connect McGavock High School and Two Rivers Middle.  Not time frame and I still need to get that funded, but it would be well used I believe.

TN Achieves is always looking for mentors to serve our local schools.  Visit their website to learn more.  This is one way you can serve our local community and help kids get a solid start in life.

TN Achieves Is Always Looking For Mentors

The Nashville Youth Basketball Association is recruiting for their fall league.  This is held at McGavock High School.  Visit their website for more info and see the flyer below.

Nashville Youth Baseball Association is recruiting for their fall league

Congrats to the McGavock High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter for being named a finalists for the 2017 Model of Excellence Award.  There is always something amazing and noteworthy to celebrate about McGavock High School

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348 Hits

Donelson Business News - September 2017

Be sure to check out the last edition of my newsletter on updates for almost twenty different developments happening in the 15th District.

Welcome Caliber Coffee!  This will be a new coffee shop and , which will be the third locally-owned coffee shop coming to Donelson, which will also have a full menu.  It’s an exciting time of new locally owned restaurants popping up and I’m so thankful for our neighbors who are taking the courageous steps of starting their own small business right here in the community.

SmART Supplies is coming to Music Valley!  This could be both part of the Business News or Non-Profit News section as SmART Supplies is a social enterprise of Progress, Inc., who do great work on behalf of those with disabilities and seniors who need care.  Their ribbon cutting will be Friday, September 22nd.  See flyer below for details.

Smart Supplies Is Coming to Music Valley

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262 Hits

Donelson Neighborhood News - September 2017

There are three updates in regards to my focus on traffic calming and safety in our neighborhoods:

  1. In Donelson Hills, a 4-way stop sign will be installed at Cottage Lane and Dellrose Drive. It is with deep regret that the initiative of this effort began with a fatal crash at this intersection.  This intersection has long been a dangerous one with limited site distance and consistent speeding.

  2. In Elm Hill Acres, the speed limit has been reduced on Sanborn Drive from 35 to 30. Most of our single family neighborhoods do not have sidewalks and our streets must be shared with pedestrians.  Every effort needs to be made to make them safe pedestrians and drivers.

  3. McGavock Pike, while it is well-travelled and used by many, it is essentially a residential street and should remain so in my opinion. Towards that effort, I’ve asked that large trucks not use it as a cut-through and for this to be an enforceable policy via the Traffic & Parking Commission.  So far, the stretch from Elm Hill Pike to Lebanon Pike has been deemed so and I am awaiting confirmation that the stretch from Lebanon Pike to Pennington Bend Rd will be so as well.
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228 Hits