Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
Council News - October 2015
I hope everyone is well and enjoying these cooler temperatures. I’m very thankful to each of you for the continued congratulations and well-wishes I receive as I see you out in the community. Every one means a great deal and fills me with encouragement.
I was asked to officiate my first wedding on September 12 and it was a memorable experience. Congratulations again to Tim & Jill Halterman and I wish you many wonderful years together.
October is “Artober” and it’s a month-long celebration of arts and culture in Nashville. Our Metro Arts Commission partners with hundreds of arts and cultural organizations in a multitude of events. Visit their website to help plan a family outing, attend classes, workshops and many other events, some of which are free.
I’m happy to share my latest Hearts of the People blog featuring Mrs. Annie Martin. “Ms. Annie” is a Donelson treasure and I had a special Sunday afternoon to spend with her recently. We attended a bench dedication at the Two Rivers Mansion of the Two Rivers High School 50th Anniversary of the Class of 1965. They all had fond memories of Mrs. McGavock and dedicated a very beautiful granite bench in her honor. Ms. Annie also had great memories of Mrs. McGavock and I was very glad she could accompany me to this dedication ceremony.
In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about the preparation and transition in being ready for Metro Council to start the new session on October 6. That continues and has opened up some great opportunities for well-deserving people. Congratulations goes to Jon Cooper, Metro Council Office’s Director and Attorney, who was hired by Mayor Barry to serve as Metro Law Director and confirmed by Metro Council at our October 6 meeting. Congratulations as well goes to Metro Council Staff Assistant Elease Waller, who was hired by Mayor Barry as her Executive Assistant. Thanks goes to Don Jones, Metro Council Special Counsel, who has a great deal of knowledge and experience, for stepping in temporarily to replace Mr. Cooper as Council Attorney until his successor is found. Mayor Barry continues to work hard filling other key roles in her administration and Vice Mayor Briley has been doing an above and beyond job of meeting with each Council Member and building the initial committees for 2015-2016. The Vice Mayor will rotate committee chairs each year, except for the chairs of Planning, Zoning & Historic and Traffic & Parking, which are elected by Council Members.
I am very pleased to serve on three committees – Planning, Zoning & Historic, Public Works and Parks, Library & Recreation, where I also serve as Vice Chair. These are all committees that deal directly with issues that are very important to Donelson. I look forward to sharing my experiences as meetings occur. Keep tabs with Metro Council’s website, which has agendas, analysis, committee schedules, Council meeting broadcasts and more.
The first Metro Council meeting was Tuesday, October 6 and it was a good day for Donelson at Metro, taking positive baby steps as we begin the new administration. Earlier in the day, the Metro Parks Board accepted a small grant from the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion so we can fund additional docents to give historic tours of the property during the Holidays. Thanks to our former District 15 CM Phil Claiborne (and Friends of TRM Founder/President) for being at their meeting to make that request in person.
The Parks Board also approved moving ahead with applying for a TDOT grant for the Opry Mills Greenway connector, a proposed connection near where our Cumberland Pedestrian Bridge connects to Donelson and goes about three-fourths of a mile to Opry Mills. There is a Public Input Meeting on Thursday, October 15 from 5-7pm at Two Rivers Mansion to see plans and speak to Metro Parks staff about the project.
Prior to our first Metro Council meeting, the Council's Public Works Committee approved a grant of about $5k for trees from the , which was then approved by the whole Council. Thanks to our District 15 Beautification Commissioner Naomi Regensburg and our Metro Public Works Beautification and Environment Commission for their work over the last several months applying for this grant, working with CM Claiborne to identify the sites where they will go (partially to help The Donelson Gateway Project keep momentum on creating a true arboretum at the Stewart's Ferry Pike / Lebanon Pike "Toll Gate" site).
The inauguration on Friday, September 25 of Mayor Barry, Vice Mayor Briley and Metro Council was a very memorable day for everyone. After the ceremony at the Music City Center, the new Council had a reception back at the Metro Courthouse. Joey looked right at home sitting in Vice Mayor Briley’s chair.
I have been meeting with Metro Department heads, key personnel and many others in Metro government as I prepare to be an effective and efficient public servant on behalf of all of you and am very thankful for the open and inviting way so many have reached out to help facilitate a smooth transition. I was very impressed with the Metro Public Health Department’s Lentz Public Health Center and the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center has done incredible work on behalf of victims of domestic violence in just one year of operation. October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Captain Michelle Richter with the MNPD Domestic Violence Division sent out a notice asking everyone to support with wearing purple and shared this link with more information.
Special thanks goes to our US Rep Jim Cooper and his staff for hosting a great meet and greet where we heard from Rep Cooper about issues he is working on at the federal level that have a local impact and how we can best work with his office to facilitate constituent services.
I look forward to seeing you soon out in the community! Don’t hesitate to let me know how I can be of service.