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.

District 15 had a very small portion of the district in Pennington Bend (mainly Abbingon Park) still in GSD, which was moved into the USD late last year. Some have questioned when street lights and trash/recycling services would occur. Public Works provided the Procurement Department with information to put out an RFP for trash collection which should be open for bid. After the bids are evaluated, Public Works will be able to provide more definitive information on who will be providing the service and a projected start date. Public Works will provide the recycling collection service internally and has ordered the necessary equipment. They have received funding to hire the recycling employees in May of 2018 and will begin training them for service to coincide with the new trash service. Public Works has also been coordinating with other Metro departments to evaluate options for the deployment of lighting in the annexed area. They have requested further information from NES related to some of these possibilities, such as cost of doing LED versus traditional lighting. They will have a better idea of the timeline when that information is received from them. All services must be provided to the annexed area by October 1, 2018.

Congrats to Sunset View on their new logo. It looks great. Kudos to Shane Williams for the graphic design and Dnadida Kruse for her leadership of the neighborhood watch group.

Sunset View

Big thanks to neighbors in Pennington Bend for organizing a benefit for hurricane victims in Texas. It will be held on Sunday, November 5th from 2pm to 8pm at the Texas Troubadour Theater. Donations accepted for admission and you can pick Samaritan's Purse, United Methodist Committee on Relief or Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. Hosts include Gary Jenkins (singer/songwriter/comedian), Rudy Kallis (WMSV), Heather Davis (Nash FM 103.3), Diane Sherrill (legendary Nashville Singer) and Dennis Banka (104.1 The Ranch).

Bend for Texas

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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. The proposal is as follows:

• One-half percent sales tax surcharge beginning in July of 2018 and graduating to one percent in 2023. A recent study released by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce shows that nearly half (47%) of sales tax collections in Davidson County are generated by out-of-county residents.

• One-quarter percent surcharge on the hotel/motel tax, graduating to three-eighths of a percent in 2023. The Convention Center Authority, which is funded in part by local hotel taxes and fees, is anticipated to help pay for the transit system by constructing a SoBro station for light rail and rapid bus service. Additionally, the Metro Nashville Airport Authority has agreed in principle to fund a light rail spur from Murfreesboro Road to the Airport with terminal access.

• 20% surcharge on the rental car tax. Metro currently charges a 1 percent tax on the gross proceeds derived from the lease or rental of any passenger motor vehicle, truck or trailer for a period of five days or less. This 20% surcharge would result in a total of 1.2% surcharge on rental cars.

• 20% surcharge on the business and excise tax. Businesses in Davidson County are assessed a business and excise tax based on a variety of classifications established under TCA 67-4-708 . If a business currently pays $1,000 in such a tax, this surcharge would result in an additional $200 annually.

This proposal will come to Metro Council to vote whether or not to put it on the ballot as a referendum for the May 2018 ballot for the residents of Davidson County to vote on. In related news, I was happy to recently be part of an article written by David Plazas of The Tennessean title The Stakes in Nashville’s Transit Future: Getting Left Behind. It is a very thorough look at the situation we face and the major decisions we have before us.

At the October 3rd Council Meeting, BL2017-608 that would phase out non-owner occupied short-term rentals was deferred for the sixth time. Vice Mayor Briley put together an ad-hoc committee to study a possible compromise (specifics still unknown at this time) and so 608 was narrowly deferred until Jan 2, 2018, as it’s expected that a proposal for some sort of compromise will come to Council in December. While I’m open to learning about the compromise, I also understand that many neighborhoods feel under attack and have no recourse to deal with the negative issues that come with some non-owner occupied STR’s, especially in regards to enforcement. I have seen the number of permits steadily increase in the 15th District and so I decided to support 608 as I believed it would give neighborhoods solid grounding in order to achieve some stability while we wait on the compromise proposals and since it had been deferred five times already, I was ready to provide neighborhoods with some sense of relief. I know there are some non-owner occupied properties in the district that are high quality and do not cause any issues. I certainly recognize that and know that’s the case across the county as well. But, I will put the integrity and quality of life of our neighborhoods first and foremost. However, there are a couple of elements of the current situation that I deem positive. Even though it was deferred again, because it’s pending legislation, no additional non-owner occupied permits are being issued. Also, to address the enforcement issue, a 24/7 hotline has been established that will help direct resources more quickly to issues as they arise. All information about the hotline can be found here. A graphical representation of the process is below.



The prospect of bringing a Major League Soccer team to Nashville is both exciting and creates many questions as well as far as the impact to the tax payers and to the Fairgrounds. I attended the presentation to Council about the financing package and overall I thought it was positive and thankfully very different from the deals for Bridgestone Arena, Nissan Stadium and First Tennessee Park. The vote for this is likely to occur at the November 2nd Council Meeting, so I encourage feedback as always. The financing for the stadium will largely fall on the owners of the team. It was described as a 90 / 10 split with private money and revenues funding 90%. Metro will float the $200 million revenue bond, but the revenue from the stadium (including a surcharge on tickets) will go towards the debt payments. I have asked for some specific information about substantiation of the revenue and to review some sort of amortization schedule showing how this would work, but I do have confidence that the Ingram family, who are deeply rooted and committed to Nashville’s success, have put together an overall favorable proposal in my opinion that they are serious about succeeding. My other question remains about the impact to the future of the Fairgrounds. The proposed private development as part of the deal has many questions and the owners and administration have already tweaked the plan so that revenues from the private development are directed back into the Fairgrounds. The regular programming of the Fairgrounds should not be altered. Thus, with some specific questions being answered that would make me comfortable with the financing and ensuring no negative impact to the Fairgrounds, I’m poised to support it. There will be a public hearing on this on Tuesday, October 24th at 6pm at the Creative Arts Building at The Fairgrounds – 625 Smith Ave, Nashville, TN 37203.

I spend an extraordinary amount of time on Holiday Traffic issues in the Opry / Music Valley area and have always put the residents of Pennington Bend first. The situation with the Dancing Lights of Christmas is not something that just popped up as some have suggested. The owners put out a press release specifically mentioning that I “cancelled” their event. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is unfortunate that they stooped to dishonorable tactics in my opinion, and I’d like to set the record straight with the facts and chronological timeline of the efforts over the past few years.

  • First, there is some confusion among some about the ownership and lease of the property where the Dancing Lights of Christmas show occurs. The Gleaves family has owned that property for many years. Jellystone Campground has a long-term ground lease to operate the campground. The Dancing Lights of Christmas is owned by Mike Scalf from East Tennessee and he had some sort of agreement to come to Nashville and operate the Light show during the Holiday Season.
  • The 2014 Christmas Season saw a big increase in popularity in the Dancing Lights of Christmas show. Councilman Phil Claiborne put together meetings in the Summer of 2015 with everyone who either causes or deals with traffic, from TDOT, Metro Police, Metro Public Works, Ryman Hospitality, Opry Mills, the Light show, all the various small businesses along Music Valley Drive and surrounding area, and neighbors on both sides of Pennington Bend. The result was Metro Public Works hiring a consultant to look at what tweaks to traffic control and infrastructure improvements could be implemented. Some of the signage improvements were implemented, but the majority of the elements were deemed not possible by the property owners.
  • I took office in September 2015 and put together a follow-up meeting in October to see what we could do to coordinate efforts. I took an approach looking at it from two aspects – 1) What could we do now to try and improve the situation, and 2) What does the area need for the long-term infrastructure improvement to improve the quality of life for both residents and visitors to the area, especially if more growth and development is to occur. At that point, it was largely too late to make any significant impact for the 2015 Holiday Season. As Nashville was growing, so was the popularity of the area as a regional tourist destination.
  • I started early in 2016 to try and work with everyone involved in previous meetings to try and create a cohesive traffic plan for the entire area. Metro Public Works and the Metro Police Department are to be highly commended for their above and beyond efforts. Without a doubt, Opry Mills and Ryman Hospitality (Opryland Hotel, ICE, Grand Ole Opry) create a significant amount of traffic during the Holiday Season. But their activities occur on private property and they have tweaked plans, modified operations, and increased their efforts to control traffic as the needs arise. The Dancing Lights of Christmas left it to Metro PD to create a traffic plan that was largely focused on the amount of traffic they caused on public roads, mostly Music Valley Drive and Pennington Bend Road.
  • While efforts continued with traffic control improvement, I began to meet with Ryman and Opry Mills to help me with long-term infrastructure needs. After a few meetings, they agreed to fund a cohesive infrastructure improvement study to put forth recommendations for what the area needs to manage traffic better and improve for future growth. Gresham, Smith & Partners won the bid for this project and began to work diligently.
  • The 2016 Holiday Traffic Plan that was created by Metro Police was comprehensive and required the Lights to secure a permit to modify the normal flow of traffic on Music Valley Drive and route traffic at various intersections along Pennington Bend Road. The plan for the whole area consisted of 23 Officers, 3 Sergeants and a Lieutenant to oversee the plan on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-10pm when the traffic volume was at its peak. Since this required Officers to work beyond their normal shifts, it could not be mandated for the entire season. The first weekend of the plan was mandated (meaning, we, the tax payers, paid for it) to show its efficacy. It did indeed help, but it also routed traffic over Pennington Bend Road through the residential area and I know neighbors were not all that happy about it. There were few options as the area is only so big and every possible aspect was considered when coming up with this plan by Public Works and MNPD who are knowledge leaders about traffic control for special events. When the second weekend was not mandated and all police shifts were not able to be filled, the plan fell apart. I immediately asked the administration for the funding to mandate the plan for the remainder of the Holiday Season. At that point, I felt we were left with no choice but to ensure that the plan was funded in order to work. Thus, the tax payers paid for it. It did help at times. However, there were times when the traffic was so bad, it wouldn’t have mattered how many Officers were down there. There were occurrences of drivers treating the Officers disrespectfully as well. Big thanks to Barrett Hobbs with Scoreboard Bar & Grill for feeding the Officers who were working those shifts.
  • The traffic volume increased again between the 2015 and 2016 Holiday Season. I held a follow-up meeting to discuss the traffic plan in late January 2017 at Grace Nazarene that likely had over a hundred in attendance. I was focused on ensuring the tax payers would not have to fund a traffic plan creation or management again. The Lights were told very early on that because of the growth of their event, they needed to be treated like any other special event in Nashville and come up with their own traffic plan to submit to Public Works to review and show improvement in their operations and logistics. Staging, advance ticketing and other suggestions were given to them by Public Works and Metro Police, but were ignored. Conference calls and meetings were held to try and help them and also clearly communicate what the requirements would be for the 2017 Holiday Season. The bottom line is they failed to ever submit a traffic plan or show how they would improve their operations. They were told clearly that if no traffic plan was submitted, they could not get a permit from Public Works. There were many months of opportunity for them to do so.
  • Instead of following the same path that any other special event follows, the Lights hired an attorney. I met with him and delivered the same consistent message -- that his client failed to follow the same standard procedures as any other special event. Since they hired an attorney, I wanted to be sure all aspects of this situation were covered, so I asked Metro Planning to look into the zoning of this property to confirm whether or not they were able to operate such a large event. As it turns out, they were not. This is a “Temporary Festival” and the Lights had not been following the normal zoning and use permitting required as they should’ve been since the beginning. When they were a smaller event, they basically operated under the radar.
  • In the end, the Lights decided to play the card of the victim and say that I was against a Veteran-owned business and even had one individual planted at the meeting from outside the community to accuse me of being anti-Christian and anti-Christmas. They claimed they were the “little guys” and being kicked out. On the contrary, if the math is accurate, they likely gross over $1,000,000 in revenue from their event in just several weeks. I submit that the “little guys” are the over 1,100 residents of Pennington Bend that I represent that have their quality of life compromised during the Holiday Season.
  • I’m happy for the Lights that they found another location to operate where they can hopefully continue to grow and be successful. It’s curious their attorney argued at our meeting that they were unable to move so quickly and offered me a deal that if I were to help them with a permit, that they “may” only operate in that location for one more year. I was not interested in making any deals. I was only interested in his client following the rules like everyone else. My job is to represent the people and businesses that live and work here in the community 365 days a year. The small businesses (hotels and restaurants) showed quantifiable proof that because of the amount of traffic caused by the Light show, they lost significant business. Even with the Light show moving to another location, I continue to work hard on behalf of the area for a successful cohesive traffic management plan. As the area continues to grow, it needs to remain a strong focus.
  • At the community meeting, Gresham, Smith & Partners presented a slideshow of the long-term infrastructure upgrades they recommend as part of the plan that Ryman and Mills paid for. The slides from that presentation are below.

















Naomi Regensburg has served as District 15 Beautification Commissioner for the better part of twenty years. Her work has been extraordinary and she has served humbly and done so much for Donelson. She has decided not to renew her term and so it was my honor to present Naomi a proclamation at the Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market to recognize her service as she rolls off. I’d also like to give a warm welcome to Michele Mazzu, who has already hit the ground running. She has already implemented daffodil planting for our schools, researched programs that will make Donelson greener and has also joined the board of The Donelson Gateway Project.

Naomi Regensburg

MIchele Mazzu 1

Metro Government has launched hubNashville, a comprehensive customer service system that makes it easier for residents to connect with Metro representatives and address concerns ranging from potholes to code violations. hubNashville, a one-stop shop currently accessible by phone and online, allows the public to report issues to Metro without needing to know which department to contact. Trained representatives are available to answer questions, record feedback and help users request services from the appropriate departments. The website lets users follow the city’s progress toward resolving their requests and provides emailed updates to those who register with an email. The new website, initially available in English and Spanish, complements a call center that Metro expanded in July. The Metro Public Works Call Center has transitioned to the hubNashville Contact Center, which the public can reach by dialing 311 or (615) 862-5000.

The lights in the tunnels on the Greenway under Briley Parkway will be replaced and/or repaired soon. Thanks to Metro Parks for addressing this.

The 8th Annual Tennessee Beer & Wine Festival returns to the Two Rivers Mansion on Saturday, October 21st. Visit their website here for more info and to purchase tickets.

TN Beer and Wine Fest 1

It was an honor to be in attendance for Jeannie Seely’s 50th Anniversary celebration as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and present a proclamation in her honor. I also had the pleasure of accompanying State Representative Bill Beck on stage at the Texas Troubadour Theater after the Opry show as he read a certificate signed by Governor Haslam honoring this milestone.

Jeannie Seely 1


Jeannie Seely 2

Tuesday, September 26th was National Voter Registration Day and I was honored to be asked to participate in an event at Grimey's New & Preloved Music featuring some great music and performances, including one of my favorites, the McCrary Sisters, who were accompanied by hit songwriter Danny Flowers. Thanks to HeadCount, Band Together TN and BriteHeart for making this event happen. As Tennessee is 50th in voter turnout, there's only one direction we can go... We absolutely need to do better and I'm ready to help. Please help spread the word and let's improve registration efforts and voter turnout. Don't forget you can register online now here.

Voter Regstration Event 1

Voter Registration Event 2 1


jeff syracuse


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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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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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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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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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Honoring Frank Trew, Important Community Meetings and Presenting a Vision for Our Stones River Regional Park

Dear Friends –

Our hearts have been heavy since the news of Frank Trew’s passing.  He was a close, personal friend of mine.  There was no one I worked more closely with on behalf of Donelson’s neighborhoods than Frank.  There was a shared passion of organizing neighborhoods and helping form Neighborhood Watch groups, supporting and celebrating local businesses and serving and taking care of our neighbors.  We talked a lot about Donelson’s future.  Hip Donelson has been that organization to bring the community together in great ways to support the community now and advocate for what we want to be in the future.  Frank’s leadership of Hip Donelson is a major reason you see “hip” pages on Facebook all around Middle Tennessee now.  Hip Donelson’s success of being that “virtual front porch” for neighbors to engage with each other has become a model many want to follow.  I encourage everyone to focus on Frank’s great example of service and follow his lead.  Our neighborhoods, schools, non-profits and civic organizations need each of us to be involved, serve one another and continue to keep us a strong community.

The board of Hip Donelson is strong and they have already been working on moving forward and continuing the good work.  Big thanks to Maggie Sidlinger, who served as Vice President of Hip Donelson and directed the Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market with Frank, has stepped into the President role and Marylee Locey is Vice President.  As a founder and ex-officio board member, I’m committed to supporting this organization that is very close to my heart.  And speaking of the farmer’s market, it felt like a one-two punch that we abruptly learned that Ace Hardware along with a few other locations had closed.  Hopefully even before this newsletter goes out, we will learn of a new franchise owner that will reopen Ace, but as of the writing of this newsletter, we are still awaiting to hear what the future will be.  However, I can confirm the market is secure at this location for the rest of the season.  As the season winds down, please make an extra effort to come to the market and support the vendors and this very special weekly event that kicks off our weekends with lots of community pride.

As we need to continue to celebrate Frank’s life and example, I write this newsletter on Sunday, September 10th and its World Suicide Prevention Day as well as National Suicide Prevention Week.  Losing someone close to you as we know is very painful.  It was a shock for me to learn of Frank’s cause of death and brought an additional depth of grief, anger and other difficult mixed emotions.  While we may never have total understanding and closure of why Frank took his life, in keeping with the sentiments above that we honor his life in service to others, take a moment to review the links above and remember to “take a minute, change a life”.  Wherever possible, let someone who is struggling know that they are not alone, they are loved and we are there for them.

Frank Trew

There are two important community meetings coming for the Pennington Bend / Opry / Music Valley area:

  1. Pennington Bend Development Along the Cumberland River – Thursday, September 21st at 6:30pm at Grace Nazarene Church. As I write this, I am watching as Hurricane Irma is about to make landfall in Florida.  Here in Donelson, development along the Cumberland River in the Pennington Bend area has recently seen an uptick in variance requests to develop in the floodway buffer.  I have opposed any variance request.  It is irresponsible development in my opinion.  There are about 43 undeveloped properties along the river in the area.  In order to try and facilitate a cohesive approach, each property owner and the community are being invited to a meeting with Metro Water Services to learn about the potential of a voluntary buy-out program that would allow Metro to purchase the land and ensure development along the river is kept to a minimum and is done so in a responsible way and not in the floodway buffer.  Big thanks to Grace Church of the Nazarene for hosting this meeting.

Below is an example of the letter going out from Metro to the owners of vacant properties, which are the focus of this meeting.

Sample Vacant Lots

  1. Opry / Music Valley Holiday Traffic – Wednesday, September 27th at 7pm at Texas Troubadour Theater. Dealing with both the short-term Holiday Traffic issues and long-term infrastructure needs in the area are two major focuses of mine.  Please join management from Ryman Hospitality / Opryland Hotel, Opry Mills and Gresham, Smith & Partners to discuss Holiday Traffic plans and also share an overview of the long-term infrastructure study recommendations.  Representatives from our Hermitage Precinct and Public Works will be in attendance as well.  Many thanks to the Texas Troubadour Theater in Music Valley Village for hosting us.

Metro Parks is ready to share a draft of the master plan for our Stones River Regional Park.  On September 20th from 12:00 non to 7:30pm at the Hermitage Branch Library, there will be a variety of activities and opportunities to engage with this plan and give your feedback.  See flyer below for details.

Stones River Regional Park Open House

Music Valley will have two Farmer’s, Flea & Arts Market events coming up.  Saturday, September 23rd and Saturday, October 21st will be a sidewalk event full of Fall farm fresh goodness, antiques, vintage, collectibles, local treasures, reclaimed and upcycled art and handmade crafts, food and more.  See flyer below for details as well as visit Nashville Music Valley for more events in the area.

Music Valley Farmers and Flea Market

As discussions begin about a possible MLS soccer stadium at the Fairgrounds, some have asked me a number of questions about that and what is the status of improving the current facilities.  Here is a letter from the Fairgrounds Board that gives a good bit of information

Nashville Fair Grounds Improvements - Page 1


Nashville Fair Grounds Improvements - Page 2


Jeff Syracuse - Metro Council District 15


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Donelson School News - August 2017

A few parents at Pennington Elementary reached out to me about a meeting that was being held at the school to discuss the issues surrounding the construction project.  I didn’t know about the meeting until that day so I wasn’t able to attend.  Our School Board Member, Anna Shepherd, did attend and learned the meeting was informative.  As I understand, the project is slated to be completed by mid-2018.  It’s not ideal and I believe the contractor will find it difficult to be involved with future MNPS projects after this.  I’m sorry to hear about these delays and challenges but it sounds like the staff and administration are doing a good job managing it the best they can and any immediate safety issues have been properly addressed.  Don’t hesitate to contact me with any additional concerns.

Welcome back to all students and best of luck in this new school year!

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Donelson Non-Profit News - August 2017

There are just a few more weeks to enjoy the summer Two Rivers Mansion tours, which now include a tour of our freshly furnished 1802 House.  Docent-led tours are available every Monday, Thursday and Friday in August from 11:00am – 4:00pm.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.  Members are always free.

1802 House Two Rivers Mansion Tours

I had the pleasure of watching the National Wheelcats championship game held at McGavock High School.  Nashville won!  It was fun to watch and the teams are competitive.  It was an eye opener about the challenges they face but very uplifting to see how the teams overcome them.  As we grow our Metro Parks system, we need to ensure we have facilities and support for everyone.

National Wheelcats Championship Nashville

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Donelson Business News - August 2017

It’s exciting times in Donelson as news of positive developments is all around us.  It’s going to be a busy last half of the year.  Here’s an update on potential/rumored and “coming soon” developments:

  • The former Phillips 66 gas station at the corner of Fairway and Lebanon Pk – What we see going on is the standard environmental clean-up that has to happen when a gas station leaves a property. There have been a few rumors about what’s coming to the property, but it appears the closing has been pushed back to late Fall, so we won’t know anything for a while.
  • Party Fowl at the former Johnson’s Furniture building – They’re almost there with final plans and permits and the opening should be around March 1, 2018. Construction should begin in the weeks ahead hopefully once they officially secure all permits.
  • Nectar Urban Cantina behind Walgreens on McGavock Pike – They’re making great progress and it looks fantastic! Should be open in the weeks ahead.  Follow their progress on Facebook.
  • A new location for Old Hickory Credit Union is going up near Batson Home’s new construction at the corner of Donelson Pike and Lakeland.
  • City Side Center on Spence Lane near Margaret Allen Middle School – Mixed-use development with up to 9,400 square feet of commercial space is going through the Planning process.
  • Sleep Outfitters is leaving the Dollar General shopping center at Fairway Dr / Lebanon Pike this Fall. A sign is up advertising the space available for lease.
  • The new area for the new office building at 2540 Park Drive was cleared and construction could begin soon once permits are secured.
  • The Somerset at 1604 Lebanon Pike – 25 townhomes. Passed second reading at Council.
  • 36-unit apartment complex at 1636 Lebanon Pk – They’re working on securing permits and would like to start construction sometime this Fall.
  • Hotels in various stages of the development process:
    • A Loft – McGavock Pk near Elm Hill Pike. Still in early stages.
    • In the Century City area off of Perimeter Court – Holiday Inn
    • In the Century City area on Century Blvd – Hyatt House
    • In the Century City area on Ermac Drive – Candlewood Suites
    • On Music Valley Drive – Residence Inn
  • Donelson Plaza – Making good progress slowly but surely. Lots of details to work out, but hoping it will be a feature of a subsequent newsletter soon and then we will have a community meeting.
  • Donelson Library – Same as above. Hoping to schedule a community meeting about this during the Fall.
  • 200-unit multi-family development across from FiftyForward – Passed second reading at Council and is moving forward.
  • Donelson Station – The State passed authorizing legislation that allows MDHA to create redevelopment districts around “Transit Centers”. I’ve met once with MDHA, Metro Planning, RTA and the Pennrose development team to discuss starting this process as it would be of great benefit to the future development on the RTA land as well as the surrounding area.  More info to come in the weeks and months ahead.  There will be a community meeting about this.
  • Bowtie Barista – They are in a “soft opening” stage and should be fully open in the weeks ahead. I had an opportunity to check them out and it’s fantastic!  Donelson is going to love this coffee shop.

Joey Syracuse Bowtie Barista

Congratulations to Cloud 9 Salon & Day Spa on celebrating their one-year anniversary.  Located at 2623 Lebanon Pike, they cover all aspects in the area of health and beauty.  An outward expression for the love of caring for all is the primary goal of the stylist and staff and their Mission is “to show and educate individuals how to care for themselves embracing bodywork from head to toe.  Offering a luxurious taste of Heaven while on Earth by providing services which are vital and valuable as pampering evolves."  Cloud 9 offers services such as massage, hair styling, manicures, pedicures, waxing services, facials, and make-up application.  Follow then on their website here and Facebook here.  Their phone number is 615-540-3934.

Cloud 9 Salon and Day Spa

The court process is finally moving forward for TN Quick Cash.  The State Court of Appeals date is August 22.  The court generally makes a decision in about 30 days after that.  If we win, they then have 60 days to file a petition to the TN State Supreme Court.  This is frustratingly slow indeed and the building remains empty until the process is final.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - August 2017

I’m pleased to share two good pieces of news for Maplecrest.  The first is the long awaited sidewalk on Fairway Drive.  It’s finally moving forward.  Public Works is hoping to start work on it this fall, but legislation has to go through for right of way acquisition and working with each property owner still needs to happen, but we’re getting there.  Here is a diagram.

Fairway Drive New Sidewalk Coming

The second update for Maplecrest is the Traffic Calming improvement.  Thanks to Stanford Montessori Principal Angela Bailey and Maplecrest Neighborhood Association President Russell Hobbs for their support and involvement.  Below is the plan.

Maplecrest School Zone Plan District 15

At the Metro Council Meeting on August 1, one piece of legislation that was up for second reading (Public Hearing) was a proposal to change zoning of 3233 Knobview Drive from Residential to a Specific Plan in order to make it a commercial property and allow a hair salon to operate there.  Several neighbors did show up in support of Pay Raynor and several showed up in opposition.  I did not support this effort and it was Ms. Raynor’s attorney who filed this.  This is an inappropriate use of an SP and was recommended for disapproval by the Planning Department and Planning Commission.  The majority of neighbors were against this as well.  We simply do not have a proper zoning tool to allow a commercial business in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  We are dealing with the Short Term Rental situation now and I have explained to Pat, after we get through this, I’d be willing to discuss what pragmatic options we could pursue to allow this but she was not willing to wait.  Metro currently allows a Home Occupation Permit that permits those working in their homes that do not have customers coming to their home but this would be a full commercial business.  You can watch this at the Council meeting rebroadcast at this link.  Scroll to about 19 minutes in.

Over the past several months, there has been an increase in development activity along the western section of Pennington Bend Road along the Cumberland River.  Unfortunately, that has been accompanied by variance requests to build across the line into the floodway buffer.  I cannot in good conscious support a variance of being allowed to build into the floodway buffer.  This is just plain dangerous and would create the conditions that would bring greater damage by the next flood.  After the May 2010 flood, Metro purchased properties that were flood damaged along the river to decrease density and allow greater flood storage.  The lots that were privately owned and not yet developed were not purchased.  The process is such that the applicant must first go to the Board of Zoning Appeals and if granted the appeal, they then have to go back to the Metro Stormwater Management Committee.  2319 Pennington Bend Road was granted an appeal by the BZA.  I spoke against it.  At the August 3rd Stormwater Management Committee meeting, I also spoke against it.  Scroll to about 20 minutes into the meeting.  It was deferred until 30 days.  You can watch the committee meeting at the link above.  I will continue to fight against these types of variance requests.  I believe it is irresponsible development practices to want to develop into a floodway buffer.

Metro Arts’ THRIVE funding available again.  Artists can receive up to $8,000 for community-based and artist-driven projects.  Contact Lauren Fitzgerald at 615.862.6736 or for more information and visit Metro Arts website.

Those that have recently visited Two Rivers Park playgrounds, you may have noticed the smaller one was removed recently.  It was older and not safe anymore.  I was able to secure $150,000 from Metro Parks for its replacement.  It should happen soon.

Our Metro Police Department routinely sends out a Community Policing Survey and asks for feedback.  I have it attached below.  Feel free to complete it and send to Sgt Jeff White at the Hermitage Precinct at

Community Policing Survey Metro Police Department


Metro Stormwater has a one page educational letter they send out to folks to educate about proper disposal of yard waste.  I thought it’d be helpful to share.  See below and feel free to share with neighbors.

Stormwater Yard Waste Education Letter

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Cavalia comes to Pennington Bend, Historic Overlay and Community Meeting for Belair Mansion and More Development Updates

Dear Friends –

Thanks to those who live in and around Pennington Bend who came to the community meeting about Cavalia, the equestrian theatrical show coming to Ryman Hospitality’s land just east of Briley Parkway.  Please visit the website at the link above for more information.  Below are some of the slides that were presented at the meeting.  Also of note is that as a token of good will, the management team of Cavalia is offering an opportunity for directly adjacent neighbors to see the show for free since they are the most impacted by this show.  If you attended the meeting and signed the Sign In Sheet, you should be contacted.  If you weren’t able to attend the meeting, please email and provide them your address to verify your residence.  Please do not abuse this kind gesture.

Cavalia Equestrian Theatrical Show

Cavalia Equestrian Theatrical Show Village

Cavalia Equestrian Theatrical Show Site Map


Cavalia Equestrian Theatrical Show Arial View

It’s a pleasure to introduce to you a very bright young man, Aidan Rowan, who has been shadowing me this summer learning about the job of a Council Member and assisting with a couple projects.  Aidan is a Nashville native whose parents grew up in Donelson and Aidan lived here his first nine years.  He was a part of the 2016 graduating class of University School of Nashville.  Currently he is a part of the Tufts University class of 2020, where he is majoring in Political Science and Philosophy.  He's passionate about the community.  In his spare time, Aidan likes to watch the Titans, Predators and Reds, as well as helping out with his school's Model United Nations organization.

Aidan Rowan Shadowing Councilman Syracuse

I’m very proud that the Historic Overlay passed on third reading at the July 18 Council Meeting.  The next step is to review a site plan and hold a community meeting.  The site plan will have to go through the same Planning Commission and Council process that the Overlay went through.  We will have a Community Meeting on Tuesday, August 29th at 7pm at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church.  Thanks to Russell Hobbs, Maplecrest Neighborhood Association, for helping set up this meeting.  I look forward to seeing you there and providing input on this proposed site plan.

I learned recently from State Representative Bill Beck and Darren Jernigan that Briley Parkway will be paved from where TDOT stopped last year at the McGavock Pike interchange down to Two Rivers Parkway.  They should be starting soon and done by around October.

The boat ramp at the end of McGavock Pike in the Opry / Music Valley area has officially been transferred to Metro.  Metro Parks is actively working on the site and creating signage.  When it’s ready in the next several weeks, we will have a ribbon cutting and officially open it up to the public.  Stay tuned for an announcement on that.

For those about to enjoy the Solar Eclipse, here is some information from Metro Parks.  Be sure to protect your eyes with the proper eye glasses!

Solar Eclipse 2017 Viewing in Metro Parks


MTA has created two flyers detailing the change in fares that recently went into effect.  See below.

MTA Announces Fare Reductions August 2017


MTA Fare Reductions August 2017



Jeff Syracuse


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Donelson School News - July 2017

Congratulations to McGavock Elementary School’s Lee Farrar, who was named Elementary Librarian of the Year.

Lee Farrar Elementary School Librarian of the Year

It was great to join members of the McGavock Cluster Coalition and Donelson-Hermitage Chamber in congratulating McGavock High School students on their last day.  The First Day and Last Day celebrations are a great way for the community to show their support for our students.

McGavock High School Last Day

If you need to enroll your child in school, you’re still able to do so.  For the first year ever, MNPS is opening two MNPS Enrollment Centers on Saturdays in July from 8am – noon.  You can enroll, withdraw or transfer your child.  English Learner assessments will also be available at both locations.  See details on dates and locations below.  To determine what documents to bring, check out the list here. If you can't make it to one of these two locations on a Saturday visit one of 11 enrollment centers during regular hours (7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., weekdays).

I thoroughly enjoyed a tour and lunch with the staff of Arts Institute of Tennessee – Nashville.  The lunch was made by students who are working to learn how to manage a commercial kitchen and restaurant.  The educational offerings at the school are vast and truly support our hospitality, entertainment and related other industries.  They do an excellent job at job placement as well.  Below is a picture of President Greg Chapman (to my right) and members of his staff.

Arts Institute of Tennessee

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Donelson Non-Profit News - July 2017

Phat Bites has partnered with Hip Donelson and local non-profits to offer a free meal to eligible families in need up through the August 4th market.  See the flyer below for more information and contact info to support this effort.

Hip Eats

My thanks to the Stones River Women’s Club for inviting to speak to their membership luncheon meeting last month.  Any ladies interested in getting involved in this club that has been active for over 50 years and has done a great deal of work to preserve and advance Two Rivers Mansion, please contact Karen Cowell at 615-812-4798 or

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Donelson Business News - July 2017

Donelson Corner is in the process of receiving an upgrade and facelift and will encourage great new tenants at the shopping center as well.  I’m thankful to HJL Properties, run by the Eakes family, for making this investment.  Below is a rendering of what the completed project will look like.

Donelson Corner Revitalization

Two buildings at the corner of Graylynn Drive and Lebanon Pike have received a nice upgrade and renovation.  Deli Dogs & Sweet Treats at 104 Graylynn Drive serves delicious hot dogs, smoked sausage, grilled cheese and other favorites in addition to delicious desserts.  Right in front of the restaurant is the former Jackie’s Barber Shop that was painted to match the building behind it and is now Monty’s Barber Shop.  Both of these businesses will be having a Grand Opening for the community on Saturday, July 22nd, so please spread the word and come on out.

Deli Dogs Sweets and Tweets


Deli Dogs Menu

Monty's Barber Shop

Music Valley has a new restaurant to try out and this one supports Veteran’s unemployment issue as well.  Semper Sliders offers a variety of sliders including beef, chicken, pork and Portobello.  They are located just under the Music Valley Village sign at the entrance.  You can’t miss the green trailer.  Below is a flyer with employment and more information about this new business and a check out this story from News Channel 5 here.

Semper Sliders in Music Valley Village

The proposed multi-family development across the street from Donelson Station was approved by the Planning Commission on June 22.  You can read the action agenda from the Commission here.  It will next be at the full Council for Public Hearing on Tuesday, August 1st.  Keep tabs with the Metro Council Agenda page.

The Kmart-anchored shopping center on Donelson Pike was sold recently for $5.8 million.  There are no current plans for any changes to occur with shopping center and Kmart is not closing.  Check out an article from The Tennessean here with more information.

Congratulations to The Nashville Palace on their 40th Anniversary.  Big thanks to John A. Hobbs for creating and supporting this now legendary music venue in Nashville and his grandson, Barrett Hobbs, for continuing on making it a place to showcase great talent, both up and coming and well-known.  I’m honored to present them a proclamation recognizing this mile stone later this year.  Check out an article from The Tennessean about this story here.

A number of folks have asked me what the parking lot at 1809 Lebanon Pike is going in across from the Clovernook neighborhood.  Ultimately, it is affiliated with the Mercedes Benz dealership being constructed at the I-40 / Briley Parkway interchange.  It will be an auxiliary lot for their operations.

Several have noticed some infrastructure pieces being brought in to the site that is being raised up near Mill Creek and next do Donelson Hills.  This development proposal passed in 2011 and they will only develop ten of the forty acres.  The ten acres will include 18,000 square feet of retail at the front and about fifty small homes behind it.  They’ve been building up the ten acres to be developed over the past several years to be at grade with Lebanon Pike.  The other thirty acres will be arbors, trails and wetlands and could connect to future parts of the Greenway system.  The development team recently secured a deal with Goodall Homes, a reputable Middle Tennessee builder, so hopefully the rate of progress on this site will continue to increase as we’ve seen over the past month or so.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - July 2017

Special thanks to Lanny & Sonya Dunkum for installing two Donelson Community Blessing Boxes at Donelson Church of the Nazarene on Donelson Pike last Fall.  Participation is based on a “take what you need, donate what you can” premise.  See flyer below for details and how you can contact Lenny & Sonya to support their effort.

Donelson Community Blessing Box

The Metro Action Commission's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides one-time assistance to income eligible families to help pay electricity, natural gas or other home energy payments.  The application period goes from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2018.  The program aims to assist low income households, primarily those who pay a high proportion of household income on home energy, in meeting their immediate energy needs.  Customers may print the application, attach the supporting documentation and mail it in or submit it in person.  Customers may also call and request the application by mail or e-mail.  All information is on their website at the link above.  Please spread the word to neighbors.

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Recapping the FY17/18 Budget Season, Legislative Updates and More New Developments in Donelson

Dear Friends –

My apologies for the delay getting this next newsletter out to everyone.  Both my day job at BMI and Metro are both on a July 1 fiscal year, so there’s been a lot of activity in my professional world over the past couple months.  Metro’s budget season for 2017/18 was in of itself an extraordinarily busy time for Council as we worked with the administration to help guide a strategic direction and prioritize investments with a $2.2 billion budget.  The Capital Improvement Budget is where projects are first identified and serve as a “wish list” and then prioritized for funding in the Capital Spending Plan.  The Operating Budget was also thoroughly discussed and one major challenge continues to be Nashville General Hospital, which has struggled in recent years to operate within their budget and have consistently come back to Council in the middle of the year to request an additional appropriation.  They have made improvements over the past couple of years and of course health care is a major issue at the national level so there are certainly broader issues but the bottom line is we must ensure our continued investment produces sustainable results. 

One other aspect of the budget process is to set the tax rate.  The recent property reappraisal process resulted in showing record increases and per state law, the tax collections must remain the same after the appraisal process, so the combined tax rate had to be lowered to $3.155, which is the lowest rate in Metro’s history.  Other notable aspects of this budget is that we also were able to support Codes with add more codes and zoning inspectors, which they greatly need, as well as adding about 12 – 14 school nurses, which is needed as well.   For the first time, FiftyForward will receive support from Metro that includes funding to support each center, including Donelson’s.  Two Rivers Mansion will receive $250,000 for the planning of an event center, to be located behind the mansion and was identified in the Two Rivers Mansion Master Plan as a revenue-generating facility to continue supporting the effort for preservation and enhancement of the historic site.  As part of the effort of securing this funding, former District 15 Councilman and Friends of Two Rivers Mansion founder Phil Claiborne and I along with Two Rivers Mansion manager Laura Carrillo welcomed Mayor Megan Barry for a tour of the mansion, 1802 House and surrounding property.  I’m very thankful to Mayor Barry for recognizing the great work the Friends group has done working with Metro Parks and Metro Historic to revitalize the property.  View pictures of Mayor Barry’s visit to Two Rivers Mansion here.

I have introduced and passed legislation (BL2017-738) banning hourly-rates at hotels and motels.  There aren’t many left in Davidson County, but places like Airways Motel is a good example of a place that only attracts prostitution, illegal drug use and human trafficking.  I’ve had good conversations with business owners who understand the intent and support this effort.  Read more about it here.

Thanks to everyone who contacted me about BL2017-739 regarding immigration issues.  Passions run deep on both sides and I’ve listened carefully to everyone.  I empathize with our immigrant neighbors and the reasons why they leave their country of origin to come to America and begin a new prosperous life with freedom.  While I did vote yes on second reading, there were a number of questions still to be answered before third and final reading and quite honestly, I was surprised that some fundamental aspects of this proposal were not fully vetted before it was even brought to Council as a viable piece of legislation.  Metro Law Director Jon Cooper issued an opinion that this proposed legislation would not apply to the Sheriff or be enforceable as it violates our Metro Charter and State law.  With that information plus hearing from the majority of those that reached out to me not in favor of this, I was prepared to vote no on third and final reading, but the sponsors pulled it from consideration.

Last newsletter I let everyone know I was appointed to the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  I spent a great morning a couple weeks ago with BPAC and members of Walk Bike Nashville as part of their Annual Policy Ride.  I rode my bike from Two Rivers Park across the Cumberland Pedestrian Bridge to downtown and gathered with about 20-30 bicyclists and we rode through points of interest in downtown and East Nashville to highlight successes and challenges.  At Riverfront Station for the Music City Star I had the opportunity to address the group and share our efforts with Downtown Donelson and implementing a pedestrian-friendly town center.

Walk Bike Nashville BPAC Policy Ride

At the June 6th Council Meeting, I was appointed to the Nashville & Eastern Rail Authority Board.  I’m very thanks to District 26 Council Member Jeremy Elrod for nominating me, who also serves as the Chairman for our Public Works Committee.  I follow a good tradition of District 15 Council Members J.B. Loring and Phil Claiborne who have also served on this board.  This is a critical time in being involved in our short line rail road where the Music City Star runs.  As we work to implement the nMotion regional transit plan, improved infrastructure and private development around our stations that brings improved serve and greater frequency will be vitally important.  I look forward to the work ahead.

There is a new “one stop shop” for accessing important data from multiple sources throughout Metro government that has been requested by a number of Council Members.  Visit the Metro Council Resources page to access reports and data all in one place.

The Nashville Farmer’s Market has opened a survey until July 21st to receive input from visitors.  Please take the survey here.


Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Donelson TN

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