Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
Donelson Council News - June 2016
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.
Another significant budget item proposal is $8.1 million for the much needed renovation of Pennington Elementary. For a full breakout of the proposed renovation items as well as the expansion already underway, visit the Schools News section below.
The full FY17 Recommended Budget Book as well as Mayor Barry’s State of Metro Address is online at the Citizen’s Guide to the Metro Budget. For highlights of the proposed $2.087 billion budget, see Page 18 of the budget book for a letter from the Mayor with an overview. Also, as mentioned in my last newsletter, the Mayor launched Public Investment Plan (PIP) proposals with many citizens and Metro departments engaged on a wide variety of topics ranging from increasing efficiencies, improved budgeting processes and bettering services across all of Metro government. Not all PIP’s were able to be funded but I am proud that the group I was involved with regarding Animal Welfare will receive a proposed $100,000 for additional spay and neuter services. Read about all the approved PIP’s here.
The Mayor has also launched a new interactive tool called “Balancing Act” that gives all of us an opportunity to better understand revenues and model where spending occurs. Metro Council had our budget hearings. The full Budget Hearing and Schedule we went through are posted on the Metro Council website and you can watch all budget hearings, PIP presentations and much more on Metro’s YouTube channel here.
Metro Water Services has released its 2016 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) as required by the TN Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The report is available online here. The CCR contains sampling data and confirms the safety and quality of the drinking water provided by Metro Water Services. The report also includes information regarding the water treatment process, sources of drinking water, the state of the Cumberland River as well as important telephone numbers.
Metro Parks & Recreation have begun their Master Plan update. I serve as Vice Chair of the Parks, Libraries & Recreation Committee for Metro Council and we’ve been deep in discussions with our Metro Parks leadership on ensuring strong public engagement in this process. There is much to include in the update since the last effort in 2008. Our 600-acres regional park land for the eastern side of Davidson County in the bend of Stones River is one such major purchase that will be included in this process. Visit the “Plan to Play” website here and take the initial survey as well as stay up to date on their social media sites listed on the website to plan on attending meetings and give input on the future of our great Metro Parks system throughout Davidson County.