The main update for the Neighborhood News section directly relates to the changes happening at the Public Works department. Mark Macy served as the Interim Director of Public Works for a couple of years. He is a talented engineer and also served as the Chief Engineer of the department. He recently stepped down from his Interim Director position in order to return his focus on the many important responsibilities of being the Chief Engineer. Mayor Barry appointed her Director of Infrastructure, Mark Sturtevant, as the new Interim Director of Public Works. The Mayor directed Mark Sturtevant to perform a top to bottom review of the department and how we can address the increasing needs our communities all across Davidson County are experiencing as we continue to experience rapid growth. The NashvilleNext plan called for looking into creating a local Department of Transportation so that we can begin to focus on how we will build a much needed improved transportation infrastructure. Mark is working hard on creating efficiencies at the department in the short term and also planning for what the future structure of the department will be.
Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
There are a few consistent desires of neighbors across our community that I hear quite often. Folks would like to ride the Music City Star at more convenient and additional times and they’d like to see more retail and restaurant options in the area. Our Downtown Donelson Urban Design Overlay is a long term plan that fundamentally addresses these issues and provides the vision for sustainable growth and revitalizing the heart of Donelson into a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented town center.
There will be two more Music at the Mansion events in August and September at Two Rivers Mansion. Saturday, August 27 will feature the 6th Annual Nashville Blues Society show featuring Them Rubies, a fantastic female vocal Americana trio you won’t want to miss. Saturday, September 17 will welcome the return of The Moonlighters big band. Also, don’t forget that tours are available throughout the month of August.
Dr. Joseph certainly hit the ground running even before he officially took his new role as Director of Schools. Read about his vision and the “First 100 Days” here. I had the opportunity to meet with him and other community and elected leaders this summer and I look forward to his leadership making a positive impact in all our schools. After that meeting, we then had the opportunity to tour McGavock High School and see the great experiences that the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) and the Nashville Scholars summer program offers. MNPS has also created a new logo and launched a brand new website, which looks great and is easier to navigate. Check it out at www.mnps.org.
Welcome to Donelson, Frost-Arnett, which has just moved from downtown to Elm Hill Pike and has added more than 60 new local employees. Read about their move to Donelson and expansion in the Nashville Business Journal article here.
We welcome another new business to Donelson, It’s That Simple Dance & Fitness at 2720 Old Lebanon Pike in the Donelson Plaza. They offer personal training, fitness classes, dance classes, nutritional advice and much more.
Lakeland Pointe is a new residential community in the works from Frank Batson Homes. Located at 410 Donelson Pike, these beautiful homes will be the first of their kind in Donelson and offer many beautiful amenities. Check them out here.
Another new business coming to Donelson is Paper and Ink Arts. They recently purchased a vacant building on Graylynn Drive and are in the process of rehabbing it. Check out their website here and their Facebook page here to keep up with their progress. They also have a local market survey for the community to provide feedback here.
I have been working with Metro Planning and management at Opry Mills to amend the existing zoning code to allow Smith Creek Moonshine Distillery to operate there. This would be a unique amenity at Opry Mills and I welcome the additional entertainment draw being offered. Read about it in The Tennessean’s article here.
We all like to enjoy Percy Priest Lake each summer, but safety needs to always be a foremost concern. Drowning incidents have unfortunately increased this year. Please check out an article here from The Ledger that is a good read about possible causes why. Please be safe!
I am always working to do what I can to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Speeding and pedestrian safety are two big concerns of mine and I do everything I can to work with Public Works in improving our intersections and I’ve begun to implement some formal Traffic Calming measures in neighborhoods. Bluefields implemented them some years back and have reported it has helped. We are moving forward with Donelson Hills, Lincoya Hills, Maplecrest and others as time and resources allow. Thanks to The Donelson News for writing about my efforts.
Reflecting Back as a New School Year Begins…
I will freely admit it was hard just to start this next newsletter… Just as the “new normal” began last Fall as your newly elected member of Metro Council, I struggled with another new reality. As many of you already know, my Mom passed away on June 30th after a long battle with a neurological illness, to which even now we never were really able to receive a true diagnosis. It was focused in the mid-brain, an area very difficult to scan, diagnose and treat. It slowly debilitated her over many months to the point she was a quadriplegic. It actually started while I was campaigning last year. I first really noticed her symptoms when Mom & Dad drove up from Atlanta to be with me at my election night party. It was a very difficult Christmas Season for my family and then Mom’s health really started to decline after the first of the year. It was so difficult for me to juggle everything as I had to put family first and be in Atlanta most weekends. I was also surprised and thankful to receive a promotion at work in October that came with a great deal more responsibility. It’s said the Good Lord doesn’t put any more on your plate than you can handle. Well, then I am truly a blessed man because there were times over the past months I just wasn’t sure if I could. The support from family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, Metro government colleagues and so many more was just extraordinary and my words of thanks will never be enough but I will be eternally grateful.
When it comes to a neighbor here in Donelson that has a true heart for the community that grows bigger with each new Spring season, Naomi Regensburg sets the bar. Much of Donelson’s ongoing beautification efforts can be attributed to Naomi’s leadership and involvement. There are many elements to creating a more vibrant, welcoming and strong community for both business to invest and good neighbors to move to. As we all know, our central business community along Lebanon Pike has a lack of green space and beautification with a great deal of pavement and wires. Naomi’s efforts contribute a great deal to improving that situation and it continues to make a big difference.
I had a great meeting with a few Google Fiber execs to learn more about the status of the installation and much anticipated roll out of their service. They’ve completed the design of the network and as we’ve seen, have been busy building it. This is a big undertaking! Once complete, the network will include more than 3,200 miles of fiber, enough to stretch from here to Canada and back. They are working hard to make disruption in the neighborhoods to a minimum. They have a 24-7 Construction Inquiry Line at 877-454-6959 if you have any issues. With the underground infrastructure going well, there are a few logistical issues to work through as far as the above ground wiring, but they are making good progress. Sign up here to keep up to date with their progress and as soon as service is available, that’s how to get notified.
The success of the restoration, preservation and increased community awareness of The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion continues to receive much deserved recognition. Congratulations on receiving The Commissioner’s Award at the recent Metro Preservation Awards. The picture is Mayor Megan Barry presenting the award to Vice President Marilyn Swing and President Phil Howard.
Congratulations and welcome to Dr. Shawn Joseph, our new Metro Schools Director! Here is a letter from Dr. Joseph and School Board Chair Sharon Gentry:
We are excited to turn the page to a new chapter for Metro Nashville Public Schools. In hiring Dr. Shawn Joseph as our new Director of Schools last Friday, we committed ourselves to cast the shadow of our burden behind us, and re-commit ourselves to ensuring that every child, in every school, in every classroom is at the center of all of our decision-making.
A couple neighborhoods in Donelson have taken advantage of Metro Public Works Traffic Calming Program. My neighborhood, Donelson Hills, has been in discussions with them for many months. We finally will receive signage at our three entranceways and a few other elements to hopefully encourage those driving through the neighborhood to slow down. I’ve been hearing from many neighbors across Donelson in the months since election. Recently, I put a post out on Hip Donelson asking for input about traffic issues in neighborhoods. With about 200 responses, I compiled the information with the emails I’ve received. The major responses came from Lincoya Hills, Maplecrest and Woodberry Park and a few other specific streets where issues are consistent. I will be making an effort to work with the neighborhood leadership and the Traffic Calming program to see if we can help make our neighborhood streets safer.
Over the past nine months since taking office, I’ve been focused on setting a strategy to achieving the goals of my time in office – strengthening neighborhoods, improving community support of our schools, supporting non-profits and continued positive economic development. I’m proud to report that a substantial element in the Mayor’s budget proposal helps us address all of those areas – a new library for Donelson and is something I’ve been working on and advocating for, so I’m very happy to see this. Mayor Barry has proposed $6 million for the replacement of our Donelson branch, which was built in 1966 and is quite inefficient from an infrastructure perspective as well as size and layout to meet our needs. Our current library is about 6,000 square feet. A proposed new library could be about 20,000 square feet, so the current site is not very feasible for redevelopment. In addition, as we all know, it can be a difficult location to enter and exit. My vision is focused on renewal and investment around the Music City Star Donelson Station to create a walkable, mixed-use, transit-oriented town center for our community that offers more restaurants and retail options as well as green space. A new library would serve as a perfect community center in the heart of Donelson that would help anchor this renewal. I continue to work with the Mayor’s Office, our Metro Library Director Kent Oliver and Donelson Library Branch Manager Chris Morin on identifying a suitable location that can maximize this investment to help bring greater accessibility, use and expanded programming to better serve the current and future needs of our community. Should the budget pass with the library funding included (I’m confident it will), there will be community input in this process and I’ll need your help to get the word out when there is a meeting scheduled. It will probably happen in late Fall, so stay tuned. As always, I welcome your input any time leading up to a community meeting.
Metro has expanded the Blighted Properties Small Business Incentive Program. There are two programs – Fast Growing Business Employment Incentive and Property Investment Incentive. These apply to a small corner portion of District 15 south of I-40 along Murfreesboro Pike. If you are a business owner in this area or know someone who is, please contact me. See below for more information and eligibility. The link to apply is here.
Metro’s Planning Department has a great Parcel Viewer website as well as a Development Tracker website where you can view current ownership and zoning information and track developments as they move through the process. I have a few rezoning processes happening. They are:
- 1620 and 1634 Lebanon Pike – We’re changing their zoning from CL to CS-A, which allows the owner a bit more flexibility in use of the property. They don’t intend to redevelop. It will likely be an Enterprise Truck Rental business once the zoning approval is complete. No neighborhoods are impacted by this.
- 720, 724 and 728 Ermac Drive. This was already zoned to ORI some hears ago to permit a Candlewood Suites Hotel. This is request to revise the preliminary plan for the Planned Unit Development. It is scheduled to be heard at the Planning Commission on April 28th. This project has my support and is a good development adding to the hotel options in the Century City area.
- 2535 Perimeter Place. This already passed Planning Commission and is headed to Council. This is also a good development in the Century City area adding to the hotel options in the area.
McGavock Elementary will celebrate their 60th Anniversary on Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm. I’m honored to read a proclamation in honor of the event. All of the community is invited to help them celebrate this milestone birthday.
Vince Gill and Keith Urban’s annual All for the Hall benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Tuesday, April 12th featured McGavock High School students, who wrote with hit songwriters Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr. They performed their song “Limited Time Offer”. Read more about it and watch a video of them writing the song in an article here from The Tennessean.
The inaugural Donnie Whitworth Memorial C.A.N.S. (Challenged Adults Needing Support) Walk-Push-Run event will be September 24th at Two Rivers Park. A group project of a team in Leadership Donelson-Hermitage’s Class of 2016 is organizing a kick-off event on Wednesday, April 27th from 6-8pm at The Larry Keaton Theater with light hors d’oeuvres and wine. It’s a free event, so come out and hear what this walk is all about, share your favorite memories of Donnie and get excited about raising money that will benefit The Shelby Foundation, a Donelson-based non-profit organization dedicated to making the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities better.
The Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market kicks off the sixth season on Friday, May 6th! It promises to be another great season of healthy food, wonderful vendors, music and much more. It runs every Friday from May – October 4-7pm.
The Tennessee Songwriters Association International will host their 2016 Taste of TSAI Sidewalk Party on Saturday, April 23rd from 5-9pm. Live music, food, vendors, door prizes and more. See poster below for details.
Congratulations to The Donelson Gateway Project for securing assistance via a Metro Beautification grant for 45 trees that were planted on DGP sites, as well as other areas around Donelson. Visit DGP’s website here for a few pictures. There will also be a clean-up of all sites on Saturday, April 16th at 9am. Head to one of the main sites and pitch in to help keep Donelson looking great!
There are three sidewalk projects coming to the heart of Donelson. A community meeting was held last Fall about the project to connect Stanford Montessori to our Donelson Library. Two other projects that are coming will be on Lebanon Pike connecting Bluefields Avenue to Graylynn Drive and one on JB Estille Drive connecting Lebanon Pike and Old Lebanon Pike. Come learn more about these projects at a Community Meeting on Tuesday, April 26th at 6:30pm at Donelson Church of Christ in the chapel. Thank you DCoC for hosting us!
The Nashville Civic Design Center and Transit Now Nashville are hosting a Ticket To Ride event on the Music City Star on Wednesday, April 20th, riding from downtown to Donelson on the 5:45pm train. We will then walk up to Phat Bites for an event to promote transit and Downtown Donelson’s future. See flyer below for details.
This may be my longest newsletter yet! Lots of good things are in each section. Be sure to visit the Neighborhood News section about an important Community Meeting on sidewalks coming to the heart of Donelson and a lot more important information on great neighbors doing good things for Donelson.
McGavock High School graduate and MTSU student Robert Bagwell contacted me to ask if he could feature me in a personal profile video project. I was honored. It turned out really nice and of course my favorite part is how Joey is featured. Check it out here. Another personal profile that Robert did featured Donelson’s own former MNPD Chief Joe Casey. Check that out here.
Mayor Barry will deliver the State of Metro address on Friday, April 29th at 11:30am at the Ascend Amphitheater downtown. The administration has requested everyone RSVP here to get a count of those attending. McGavock High School Marching Band as well as other performances will occur as well. The Mayor presents her budget proposal to Metro Council after the address.
I first met Frank Trew at a meeting for The Donelson Gateway Project at the McDonald’s on McGavock Pike when we needed help with our website. As I learned quickly after becoming good friends with Frank shortly thereafter, his skillset is widespread and he uses each one together to successfully serve his community in extraordinary ways.
The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion and the Metro Historic Commission selected Encore Interpretive Design to manage the master planning process for the Two Rivers Mansion, 1802 House and 14-acre property. This is an exciting time for this historic crown jewel of Donelson. The community is invited to a kick-off of the process on Wednesday, February 24th at 5:30pm at Two Rivers Mansion. Come learn how you can be part of this process and what deliverables to expect.
The American Legion Post 88 has been working hard on a plan to beautify and enhance the War Memorial triangle site that has been there since 1970. Thanks to an architect team at Lose & Associates for helping put the vision to paper. We’ve now presented it to TDOT and are awaiting their assessment and approval, which I hope to receive so plantings could be done this Spring.