Donelson School News - May 2017

The Centennial Jam Band Camp is a music-intensive week.  A student gets to spend 5 days in a row doing what he/she loves - playing music!  Metro Parks Music Department has been hosting Jam Band Camp for more than ten years.  Many of their alums are now making their marks in the adult music world.  Kids will learn to play popular music (rock, R&B, country, etc.) in a band by ear.  Groove. Stage Cues. Solos. Singing. Harmony. Teamwork. They cover all aspects of live playing, by doing it.  Any child ages 10 to 18 and still in school is wanted, as long as she/he can play an instrument.  Novices to virtuosos are welcome.  Guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and any other instrument players who want to rock, please join Centennial jamBands Summer Intensive Jam Band Camp.  Camps run from June 12-16 and June 26-30.  It costs $150.00 for a whole week.  Scholarships are available.  Contact Metro Parks Music Supervisor Sam Frazee at Samuel.Frazee@nashville.gov or call 615-862-8440 for information about a placement audition.

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Donelson Non-Profit News - May 2017

The Larry Keeton Theater will have a benefit event called Fringe & Foolery, a costumed carnivale-themed fundraiser.  It will feature Jonell Mosser and be on May 13th. Please check out the flyer for details below. A cash bar will be open all night.  Costumes are encouraged but not required. For more information or tickets, call 615-883-8375 or visit www.thelarykeetontheatre.org.

 Fringe and Foolery at The Larry Keeton Theatre

 

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Donelson Business News - May 2017

Thanks again to those that attended the community meeting about the proposed multi-family development occurring around 121 Donelson Pike.  My last e-blast included some updates and upcoming public hearings.  Click here for all the submittal documents, including the traffic study.  Remember that the rendering is preliminary.  They are aiming for the final product to be close to their other development at One MetroCenter, so check out that website to see the quality of that development.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - May 2017

As I’ve reported in previous newsletters, I’m very much aware that the Traffic Calming Program in Metro is greatly needed in many of our neighborhoods.  It’s a slow process, primarily because it’s currently a contract position with Metro.  However, I believe that with this upcoming budget, that will change and more resources will be devoted to it.  I know questions wondering why such as speed bumps, speed humps and other techniques and elements that we see in other cities aren’t used here are on the minds of a lot of neighbors.  I’m hopeful that as we improve the quality and availability of this program, we’ll see an increase in a variety of tools and techniques.  The above website has a link for you to request traffic calming in your neighborhood.

Brush Pick-Up is coming soon, so get out there and clean up your yards and get the brush to the curb.

With the warm weather here, that means door-to-door sales folks will be walking the neighborhoods.  Remember that Metro has a Do Not Knock List and you have to renew every year.

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Short Term Rental Bill Deferred, Stones River Bend Park Community Kick-Off and More New Restaurants Coming

Dear Friends –

The Business News section has the most updates this newsletter, but important information is in each section.  As always, don’t hesitate to let me know about things happening in the community to include in subsequent editions.

One of the hottest topics at Council right now is Short Term Rental’s and BL2017-608 is the latest bill to restrict non-owner occupied STRP’s.  The Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 2 was the public hearing for 608 and we were there until about 12:30am hearing passionate opinions from both sides of the issue.  We deferred the bill to wait for possible State action that could limit what we can and can’t do and based on that, there may be potential subsequent amendments to 608, so stay tuned.  I certainly see both sides, but lean towards protecting the character and integrity of neighborhoods.  This whole process has been messy to say the least. 

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Donelson School News - March-April 2017

Mayor Barry has launched a new private-public initiative, Opportunity Now, which seeks to support youth employment.  See flyers below for details and contact information if interested in having your son or daughter be part of this program and learn some strong life skills.

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Donelson Non-Profit News - March-April 2017

The Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market has big news for us for the upcoming 2017 season!  The first change is that they’ll be open one month early on Friday, April 7th from 4-7pm, with a Grand Opening celebration on Friday, May 5th.  Also coming to the market will be a “Farm 2 Car” option for those that want to order ahead and pick up at the market.  Additionally, the Music Valley Farmer’s Market will be the second location at Music Valley Village located at 2416 Music Valley Drive behind Cracker Barrel. It will run from 9am to noon on Saturday’s beginning May 6th.  See the full press release below for all the details.  I look forward to seeing you at the Hip D Farmer’s Market!

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Donelson Business News - March-April 2017

Party Fowl is coming to Donelson at the old Johnson’s Furniture building and will be their second location in Nashville.  Owner Austin Smith grew up in Hermitage and his family attended Donelson Church of Christ, so he’s from a local family with a heart for the community.  Thanks to SmartSpace for bringing a great restaurant to a pivotal property into the heart of Donelson.  With a total of 13,000 square feet, 5,500 square feet will be on first floor with the restaurant & bars, plus a patio and roll up doors out to patio.  7,500 square feet will be on the second floor including a patio thru roll up doors.  The upstairs will also include banquet space, corporate offices and a catering commissary.  They’ve arranged for parking to be used at the office building across the street.  It will bring back to life and make the entrance into “Downtown Donelson” look fantastic.Party Fowl Coming to Donelson - Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15

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Donelson Neighborhood News - March-April 2017

Special thanks to River Glen neighbors Kerra Bennett, who helped organize a litter clean-up of Pennington Bend Road.  With help from 15th District Beautification Commissioner Naomi Regensburg who provided bright shirts, bags and gloves, a team of us went from the McGavock Pike / Pennington Bend Road intersection to the River Glen neighborhood entrance.  Very special thanks goes to Sgt Jeff White with our Hermitage Precinct, who accompanied us in his patrol car and on foot to help ensure the traffic on Pennington Bend Road was aware of people walking on the shoulder.  Check out all the bags of trash below that we collected.  Great team effort!

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Spring Clean-Up, the Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market Opens Soon and a New Restaurant is Coming to the Heart of Donelson

Dear Friends –

Hopefully Spring is here to stay and we get to enjoy it before the hot temperatures of summer.

Spring means it’s time to begin the 2017-2018 Metro Budget process.  This past week Mayor Barry held budget discussions with department heads, which can be viewed at the link above.  All departments submit a requested budget, which will exceed the available funds.  The administration continues the shift from incremental budgeting (year-to-year) to long-term financial planning.  Budget proposals will be for fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020.  As we grow as a city and a metropolitan government, this more strategic-focused process will bring more transparency and accountability.  This will also be the second year Mayor Barry’s administration will hear Public Investment Proposals (PIP’s), which is an innovative new way of approaching budgeting that challenges Metro Departments and agencies to creatively collaborate on citizen-centered pilot initiatives.  Learn more about the PIP’s here.  The administration will now put together a balanced budget proposal to send to Council in May for us to hold our own hearings with departments.

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Donelson School News - February 2017

There are opportunities to make a direct impact on students that attend Metro schools right here in Donelson with specific needs.  There are a number of children in each of our schools that meet the criteria for being homeless and do not have adequate clothing and food needs.  Thanks to Grace Church of the Nazarene and Hip Donelson, you can donate towards helping support these students.  Donate towards the local school food pantries and clothing closets (school standard attire, socks, shoes, and underwear) by sending a tax-deductible donation but clicking here via the Grace Nazarene website or in person at the Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market starting again this May.  To donate items directly, they can be dropped off at Grace Church of the Nazarene at 2620 Pennington Bend Road, Nashville, TN 37214.

Two Rivers Middle School is also looking for reading tutors.  If you have 30-60 minutes to spare once a week to help a child read, then please contact Nicole Vaughn at Two Rivers Middle, 615-885-8931. They currently have 15+ children on a waiting list because they do not have enough tutors. 

To help you, below are Reading Clinic Training dates for this month.  The training is 90 minutes and it is helpful as you get to learn some cool reading games to play with the students.  Part of each reading tutoring session is listening to the child read for 15 minutes.  Next, you play a game with them for 5-7 minutes, then you listen to the child retell what they read (3-5min) and finally, the child writes for 3min.  Each training will be held at Carter Lawrence Elementary (1118 12th Ave South; the office of the Reading Clinics Director is there).  Please email Nicole Valentine at Nicole.Valentine@MNPS.org if you plan to attend a training and she will let the director know to reserve a spot.  The Two Rivers Middle Prep clinic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-3pm according to the 30-minute time slot that works best for you (each tutor is asked to carve out 45 minutes once a week).  The clinic will be open for nine more weeks (minus spring break and state testing week).

  • Friday, February 17th from 9:30am – 11am
  • Wednesday, February 22nd from 9:30am – 11am

Metro Nashville Public Schools is requested input on the next component of their strategic plan.  Last November, MNPS solicited input on their Mission, Vision and Core Values Statements.  Next is the Student & School Characteristics, drafted by Dr. Shawn Joseph, MNPS Director.  Click here to view the Strategic Plan Process and give your input.

In Mayor Karl Dean’s last fiscal budget, he allocated $1 million to put aside towards investment in a campus each for Madison and Donelson of Nashville State Community College.  It has been a big effort by local and state elected officials as well as a number of community leaders.  Thanks also to Mia Keller with CBRE who was selected as the Tennessee Board of Regents broker for finding these campus locations.  I’m very happy to say that effort has been successful and the Tennessee Board of Regents has purchased the former ITT Tech campus on Elm Hill Pike.  The campus is in excellent condition and NSCC will be able to set up and open quickly.  Two stories about this development are here and here

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Donelson Non-Profit New - February 2017

The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion presents the annual Two Hearts Antiques & Crafts Show.  There will be many vendors, coffee shop and an appraiser on site on Sunday, February 19.   See flyer below for details.  This is a great opportunity to visit the mansion and this event gets bigger every year!

Two Hearts Craft - Two Rivers Mansion

The Cumberland River Compact is hosting a couple of fascinating events in February and March about the voyages of the namesake of our side of town.  A reenactment and reflections of John Donelson’s journey to Nashville will be worthwhile time spent learning about the origins of Nashville.  Check them out here and here for more information and to RSVP.

Hip Donelson Lost & Found Pets is hosting a benefit at Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace on Saturday, March 11th.  As we all know, the leadership and volunteers with Hip D Lost & Found Pets do extraordinary work to advocate for our pets and help return them home when they are lost.  Please consider attending this fund event or making a tax-deductible donation at the link above.

Pints Paints Paws

Another success story of the influence Hip Donelson Lost & Found Pets has had on reuniting pets with their owners is the No Lost Pet Nashville program that Metro Animal Care & Control has implemented.  The program was developed by MACC to increase the chances of pets being returned to their owners.   They are implementing the program in phases beginning with Found Dog Yard Signs and Printable Found Pet Signs for both cats and dogs.  This will help reunite lost pets with their families, while improving live outcomes at the shelter.  Similar programs have proven to improve Return to Owner percentage by 2% in year one and by more than 4% in year two of the program.  This is just the beginning as the shelter is looking into the viability of using both Twitter and Interactive Maps to assist in reuniting pets with their families.

This is how it works: 
• MACC Officers will be equipped with yard signs in each of their vehicles. 
• Yard Signs and Printable Found Pets signs will be available at the intake desk when a stray is brought into the shelter and can be utilized by Community Lost and Found groups. If you are a Community Groups interested in sign pick-up please email macc.news@nashville.gov to schedule a pick-up time for signs. 
• Both signs contain an animal identification number, description of the animal and the date the pet was found. 
• Finders are asked to leave the sign up for a minimum of three days. 

Pictured below is Marylee Locey and Bethanie Conley of Hip D Lost & Found Pets, who work relentless on behalf of our four-legged kids.

Hip Donelson Lost & Found Pets

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Donelson Business News - February 2017

A very exciting development is the announcement of “SoundWaves”, a $90 million water park that will built as an extension of the Opryland Hotel Convention Center & Resort.  As you’ll read in the story, Ryman is seeking an incentive package that will cap property taxes after the 2017 reappraisal.  I am sponsoring the bill and do so with confidence and secure quantifiable data that shows the strong economic impact this project will bring to tax revenues.  The $90 million investment will show a strong return after the third year of operation and compared to other incentives that have been given downtown, I am comfortable that this is a warranted short-term freeze of property taxes of a project that will generate millions in economic impact and provide hundreds of new job opportunities.

Another exciting development in the Opry area is the Bavarian Bierhaus at Opry Mills.  The 650-person beer hall will offer classic German brewery options and the oompah bands singing their tunes, so get your lederhosen ready for a great new entertainment option at Opry Mills.  It is scheduled to open in April.

Yet another entertainment option coming to Opry Mills this Spring is a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.  This will be music-themed and be in the location of the former Barnes & Noble book store.  They are hosting a job fair soon.  See flyer below for details.

Madam Tussauds Job Fair

Thanks to those that supported the re-opening of Donelson Bowl on February 11th after the break-in and vandalism that occurred.  The community support was strong and they were back up and running in just a matter of days.  Thanks again for the community’s support of Nashville’s oldest bowling alley.

Donelson Bowl

Paper & Ink Arts had a great Grand Opening recently.  The renovation to the building at 113 Graylynn Drive is extraordinary.  I encourage you to go check it out.  Everyone at the Grand Opening was given this catalog of all their projects and a set of calligraphy pens.  I may just brush up on my calligraphy (I used to do it as a kid) and start signing all my bills and resolutions with these pens!

Paper Inks Arts

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Donelson Neighborhood News - February 2017

The Metro Historic Zoning Commission Foundation will host their 5th Annual Old House Fair on Saturday, March 4 from 9am – 3pm at Sevier Park Community Center, 3021 Lealand Avenue.  The Old House Fair is a daylong festival that introduces property owners to new ideas, practical advice, innovative materials and quality services through exhibitors and presentations.

2017 Old House Fair 

Thanks to the efforts of River Glen neighbor Kerra Bennett, we are putting together a volunteer litter clean-up of Pennington Bend Road on Sunday, February 26 from 1-3pm.  In conjunction with our 15th District Beatification Commissioner, Naomi Regensburg, Public Works and MNPD, we will have brightly colored vests, signage, gloves, bags and signage along PB Road to help ensure safety.  Sergeant Jeff White from the Hermitage Precinct will be there as well to help with safety.  As the saying goes, "many hands make light work".  We would love volunteers to help out!  Thanks again to Kerra for getting this going.  We will meet at Grace Nazarene on at 1pm on Sunday, Feb 26.

Abbington Park neighbors have been experiencing multiple issues with the undeveloped land where the third phase of their neighborhood is to be built.  This plans were approved a number of years ago so I can’t stop them from happening.  The issues and latest update is as follows:

  1. Dump trucks were going too fast through the neighborhood and on Pennington Bend Road.  Thanks to MNPD, they reacted quickly and have been on top of this.  The owner has a grading permit.
  2. The developer has a grading permit.  However, Metro Stormwater investigated the site at my request and found violations of that permit that included dumping in areas not allowed and not performing an equal amount of cut for the amount of fill that is being brought in.  Since this is in floodplain, the developer must ensure they are only rising up the areas allowed and they must ensure an equal amount of material is removed to retain an equal amount of flood water storage.  They levied a fine against the developer and put a stop order on the work.  They are requiring a mitigation plan that is due by May 3.  I had a meeting with Stormwater with many questions about the development, timing of the mitigation plan and how we can ensure they perform the grading work in a reasonable amount of time so neighbors do not have to endure dump trucks in their neighborhood consistently.  I have asked if another entrance could be established for the work that is not through the neighborhood.  I have also asked if Metro Stormwater needs additional legislatively authorized tools to have a greater control over these aspects of the development.  I will stay on this.
  3. Hunters are using the undeveloped land.  It is legal in Davidson County, but it has to be in hunting season.  Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency

Below are the site plans for the next phase of Abbington Park.

Abbington Park Concept Plan Site Layout

Abbington Park Concept Plan Site Layout

I had a great time at Donelson Heights United Methodist with Troop 700, discussing my role as a Council Member and the vision for where our community is headed.  They have a great group of kids, parents and leadership.  My son, Joey, is on track to earn his Eagle this year, so I know firsthand how important Scouts is and the positive impact it has on families.

Scout Troop 700 at Donelson Heights United Methodist

Scout Troop 700 at Donelson Heights United Methodist

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Donelson Station is Ready for Development and a New Nashville State Community College Campus is Coming Soon

Dear Friends –

Over the past several months, Metro Planning, Public Works, MTA/RTA and I have been working on duplicating an effort already underway around the Music City Star’s Mt. Juliet Station where a developer is partnering with RTA on creating a Transit Oriented Development around the station on RTA land.  We have created a Davidson County version of this RFP (Request For Proposal) and it is now available for developers to review and submit proposals.  The link can be found here.  There is a story about it from The Tennessean here.  This is potential game changer that complements what Holladay Properties is formulating a vision of on the other side of Lebanon Pike at Donelson Plaza.  As these developments continue to take shape, I will keep everyone updated via subsequent newsletters.  It’s exciting times as we move ahead in realizing the vision for Downtown Donelson!

Lack of consistent and timely trash pick-up issues continue, but they are improving.  Red River Waste Solutions is the company that has the contract with Metro.  Metro put them on notice of violating the contract and they must act to resolve the issues they are experiencing quickly or they could lose their contract.  They have come to every Public Works Committee meeting and provided updates.  The company went through major management and personnel changes and now has a new management team working hard to fix their internal issues.  I have established direct communications with their team, so please do not hesitate to email me if there is an issue.  I will get on it immediately.

Charlie Cardwell, Metro Trustee, will be at FiftyForward Donelson Station on February 22 at 9:45am to discuss the Tax Freeze Act, which permits Metro to freeze the property taxes for homeowners 65 or older at the amount of the year they qualify.  Call 615-883-8375 to RSVP and then also stop by before for breakfast or stay after for lunch at Donelson Café in The Larry Keeton Theater.

The update to the Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways is available and Public Works is asking for your comments.  Please review and you’ll note that Donelson is identified with a number of sidewalk and bikeway projects.  Thanks for your input!  Below is a great one-sheet that shows where we are headed strategically for sidewalk implementation.

Sidewalk Project Delivery Process

Metro Parks is ready to release a draft of the Metro Parks and Greenways Master Plan.  It was presented by Mayor Barry and Parks staff recently at the Nashville Downtown Library.  The plan will also be on display at the Hermitage Community Center (and other community centers throughout the county) from February 13 – 26.  Please plan on making your voice heard and give input to this plan.

Metro Parks is hiring Lifeguards for this coming summer.  See flyer below for details.

Metro Parks Looking for Lifeguards

Mayor Barry is challenging restaurants to reduce food waste, set a food-waste reduction target and work to reduce food waste over a three-month time frame.  By participating in the Mayor’s Food Saver Challenge, restaurants will reduce the amount of food sent to Middle Tennessee landfills, while helping to relieve hunger by donating wholesome, edible food to local nonprofits serving over 110,000 food-insecure residents in Davidson County.

Metro Water Services has a new map that shows all currently active water main breaks and the current status.  This is a valuable resource.  Access the website and map here.

Check out Nashville Public Libraries new Music Library!  NPL BoomBox highlights local musicians from a variety of genres to help us discover new music.  Enjoy!

I’m very proud of my next Hearts of the People blog.  Laura Carrillo is a very special member of our community and has focused her passions professionally and personally on behalf of Two Rivers Mansion, a great deal of her efforts are behind the scenes and deserves our community’s deepest thanks and appreciation.

Best, 

Jeff Syracuse

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Donelson Non-Profit News - January 2017

Markey Blue returns to The Larry Keeton Theater on Saturday, January 21st as part of the Larry Keeton Live series.  They have sold out in the past pretty quickly, so be sure to buy tickets here in advance.  Lots of great shows coming up in 2017, so be sure to check out their website and make plans to enjoy a great performance!

Markey Blue Janury 21 - The Larry Keeton Theatre

I was honored to be asked to serve as a dog walker at the 7th Annual Dinner With Your Dog fundraiser for the Nashville Humane Association on Saturday, January 21st at the Hutton Hotel.  This year’s dinner is hosted by Tanya Tucker and chaired by Marcia Masulla.  As part of my involvement, I’m challenged to raise $777.  I’m almost 70% of the way there thanks so far to those listed on my CrowdRise fundraising page.  It’s a tax-deductible donation.  Any help is appreciated to reach the goal of $777!

Thanks to Metro Public Works for moving the signs below honoring our McGavock Band and Donelson Christian Academy Wildcats football team.  It was moved just across from Donelson Hills Drive on Lebanon Pike.  Now it can be more visible and properly displayed as part of our landscape design of The Donelson Gateway Projects site at Briley Parkway / Lebanon Pike.

DGP sign relocated to Donelson Gateway

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Donelson Business News - January 2017

I am thrilled that Fort Knox Studios has chosen the 15th District to locate their second location for a 180,000 square foot space on Massman Drive..  Fort Knox currently has a very successful location in Chicago and they are already starting to receive interest from notable artists and music industry veterans.  Check out their FKS Nashville website that has a marketing brochure.  Read the article about this development in The Tennessean here.

Congratulations to Cary Street on becoming the next Executive Director of the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce.  I’ve known Cary for several years and know she’ll bring great creative energy and experience from government to non-profits to this role and make us all proud.

Cary Street - Donelson Hermitage - Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

I was also quite honored to receive the DH Chamber’s 2016 Community Service Award at the December year-end breakfast.  Thanks to 2016 President Sharon Kipp for presenting it to me.  It sits proudly on my desk at work next to the 2014 Anna Wiggs Memorial Award I received two years ago.  I am very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to work with the Chamber on making a difference in the community.  The Chamber has great opportunities ahead in 2017 and beyond.

DH Chamber 2016 Community Service Award

Congratulations to Paper & Ink Arts on their upcoming Grand Opening on Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 10am to 3pm.  They did a wonderful job rehabbing their new home at 113 Graylynn Drive.  Be sure to stop in and check them out.  Additional parking is available across the street at Holy Rosary.

Paper Ink Arts Grand Opening

Last June, Nashville received a rare opportunity for areas of Davidson County to be designated as "Promise Zones" by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  This program specifies six areas of the county to receive technical assistance and federal investment. One of those areas (Subzone 3) has a portion of the 37210 area of the 15th District. Read more about the Promise Zones here.  To that end, there is an opportunity with AmeriCorps for a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project in collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency​. See the documents below for more information and how to apply.

AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities

AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities

AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities

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Donelson Neighborhood News - January 2017

The Neighborhoods Resource Center and Nashville Neighborhood Alliance are attempting to determine the number of active neighborhood organizations (associations, watches, HOAs, and resident and/or condo associations that are active in Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.)

Their goals are to (1) improve databases so that they can more effectively communicate with neighborhood organizations; (2) create an online directory of neighborhood organizations for access by the public (including other neighborhood leaders); (3) determine the organizational types and the level of participation in neighborhood organizations; and, (4) gain a sense of the organizational and neighborhood issues facing these organizations.

Your participation will help the NRC and NNA better serve neighborhoods across Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.  Take the 2017 census here: NRC 2017 Neighborhood Census

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Important Community Meetings Coming Up and Many More Updates to Kick Off 2017

Happy New Year, Everyone –

I hope your Holiday Season was enjoyable and restful.

The required, every four-year Property Reassessment is coming this year and each Council Member had the opportunity to meet with Property Assessor Vivian Wilhoite and members of her staff regarding the work they have done and the reassessment process coming up this year.  They have also offered an opportunity for communities across Davidson County to have informational community meetings to help answer questions.  Councilman Steve Glover organized a meeting on Thursday, January 12th at 6:30pm at the Hermitage Precinct for a presentation from the Property Assessors Office regarding the process throughout the Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory area.  (Councilman Glover also has a community meeting at 6pm prior to this about a development happening in his district.)  As we know, Nashville is booming and property values are much higher than they were four years ago, so make every effort to attend this meeting and stay informed about the 2017 Property Reassessment.

Property Reassessment Meeting

Congratulations to 15th District neighbor and owner of Cumberland Hospitality Group, Barrett Hobbs, on his appointment by Mayor Barry to the Metro Historic Commission.

Barrett Hobbs - Mayor Barry - Jeff Syracuse

The 15th District has unfortunately been experiencing some trash pick-up issues over the past several months.  Not the whole district has been affected, but random streets have been missed (me included) and collection times have been inconsistent.  The collection before New Year’s was by far the worst experience the district experienced.  I serve as Vice Chair of the Council’s Public Works Committee and so I have brought this issue up and asked to see 1) Red River Waste Solution’s contract with Metro so I can review it, and 2) Receive documentation associated with the procurement of the contract.  I will be reviewing this and have also learned the Mayor’s administration and Public Works leadership has taken a more active role in ensuring they do not violate the contract any further.   I also had a friendly, but frank conversation with President and COO Weldon Smith and members of their staff came to the Public Works Committee to hear from us.  They have had some long-term key staff members leave the company and are rebuilding their team so we can return to safe, consistent, timely and efficient trash pick-up.

Short Term Rental Properties (STRP’s) is a hotly debated issue right now.  After a judge found the STRP legislation vague and ruled against them, it was back to the drawing board.  Legislation was filed (BL2016-492) to regulate them, but some feel it does not go far enough.  There are basically two type of STRP’s – owner-occupied and non-owner occupied.  Non-owner occupied STRP’s are owned sometimes by an owner from out of the country with a local management firm managing the rental.  These types of scenarios have too often including here in Donelson, most notably the development along Miami Ave of homes specifically for STRP use.  There have been instances where the home is rented out specifically to host large parties that are incredibly disruptive to what is usually a quiet neighborhood street.  The Nashville Neighborhood Alliance has proposed an amendment to phase out STRP’s in R and RS zoning (single family residential).  While I do understand the argument to not let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch, the situation has actually amounted to some negative impact to the character of residential neighborhoods.  Some argue they pretty much serve as mini-hotels in the middle of neighborhoods.  I am an advocate for our protecting neighborhoods, so I’m poised to support this amendment that will phase out non-owner occupied STRP’s specific to R and RS zoning over the next two years.

The update to Nashville’s Strategic Plan for Sidewalk and Bikeways (called Nashville WalknBike) is wrapping up and a draft will be presented on January 9th the public.  Visit their website for a list of Community Meetings where team members from Public Works will present the draft plan, answer questions and take feedback.  One of those meetings will be here in Donelson at Stanford Montessori School at 2417 Maplecrest Drive on Tuesday, January 10th at 7pm.  I know this is a big issue for many of us in Donelson, so please plan to attend and be involved.

Metro Animal Care and Control will begin offering three-year rabies vaccine and three-year license at monthly low-cost rabies vaccination clinics starting on the third Saturday of the month in February (February 18, 2017) and go through November.  Metro Animal Care and Control is located at 5125 Harding Place, Nashville, TN 37211.

With cold days ahead, it’s important to remember those that are homeless and need a shelter in times of cold weather.  As you may have read in The Tennessean, Nashville’s homeless rate spiked 9.8% from 2015 to 2016.  Before our December 20th Council Meeting, Open Table Nashville and the Mayor’s Office gave Council Members an update on current efforts and challenges this winter.  To that end, it’s good to be knowledgeable about Nashville’s Cold Weather Response Plan, which is a collaborative effort across non-profit organizations and government.  There is a How You Can Help section on their website.

Cold Weather Community Response Plan

Metro Public Works has completed the signal timing optimization project.  Read about it here in the Nashville Business Journal.  I know there are a few signals in particular for folks that don’t change fast enough.  Hopefully this will help.

The 15th District has been very fortunate to receive four funded projects via Metro Arts Commission THRIVE Program over the past couple of years.  Here’s a highlight:

FY17

  • Artist Elizabeth Davidson was awarded $3,000 to activate community with her production of a one woman play based on the life of the indomitable American author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and her writing of her most famous novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin". 
  • Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) was awarded $3,000 to engage 4 community based organizations (3 labor unions and 1 university) with vested interest in workers’ rights in their original multimedia educational show A Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement.
  • Playwright Carolyn German was awarded $4,000 to work with McKendree Village, Donelson Public Library, and FiftyForward Donelson Station to coordinate opportunities for seniors to come and share their stories.
  • Mural and graffiti artists J. Dante Bard and Troy Duff were awarded $4,000 each to activate two different sites at the pedestrian tunnel of the Two Rivers Parkway Greenway.

FY16

The $40 million Metro Water Services Cumberland Low Water Project along Elm Hill Pike, Donelson Pike and Lebanon Pike will be underway soon.  You may have seen the large signs such as the one below.  There is a 24/7 Project Hot Line – 615-953-2899 for up to date information as well as the website link above.

Metro Water Services Project Sign

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Donelson Non-Profit News November 2016

I was honored to attend Mass at the Cathedral of the Incarnation and present a Proclamation to recognize the 150th Anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy.  Pennington Bend is home to one of their Retreat Centers.  Joining me was US Congressman Jim Cooper, a representative from Lamar Alexander’s Office, State Senator Jeff Yarbro, State Senator John Ray Clemons.  Pat Nolan moderated the event.

Sisters Of Mercy 150 Years Proclamation

Congratulations to one of Donelson’s newest non-profit organizations, GROW Enrichment, for securing an agreement with Metro Parks to utilize land near Two Rivers Park, Two Rivers Mansion and the Two Rivers Dog Park for their educational offerings.  They offer great classes.  This is an exciting opportunity for them and I encourage everyone to support them!

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