Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15
Donelson Council News - August 2016
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.
2016 was supposed to be a celebratory year. Mom turned 70 and I turned 40. I know life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it and we are certainly not guaranteed tomorrow, but that was the hope. I will just leave you with this thought about my Mom… If you want to know where my true heart for community comes from, it’s definitely my Mom. I learned many things from my Mom – Faith, Sacrifice, Dedication, Commitment, Selflessness and Love. I’m so proud that Mom got to see me campaign and work hard to get elected. She knew how much I loved being involved in my neighborhood and community and I know she is looking down from above and will continue to encourage, inspire and support me.
While I haven’t been able to attend as many community and neighborhood meetings and events during this time, I have not wavered in my focus and hard work in Donelson. I’ll begin by listing a number of ways for everyone to give input on important areas that are undergoing strategic planning and improvement initiatives. Please take a minute to complete these surveys and ensure Donelson has a strong voice!
- Metro Parks “Plan to Play” Master Plan Update – There are two surveys on the website.
- Nashville Walk n Bike Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways – There is a new survey on the website about how to prioritize investments as well as much more information about being involved in the process.
- Nashville Public Library Facilities Master Plan – Share your feedback on the Master Plan for our county-wide library system.
- Metro Public Works Waste & Recycling Survey – This page has a survey at the top as well as a great deal of information many people ask about regarding services from Public Works.
As many of you noticed and experienced, we recently had a 60-inch water main project occur on McGavock Pike on both the north and south sides of Lebanon Pike. This was a precursor to an even larger project that I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, but I think important to repeat because it’s going to be a doozy. The project below will probably take as long as a year to complete. It’s a necessary project Metro Water wanted to do before the major flood of May 2010, but most all the available resources went to that clean-up effort and so they are now starting to get to these backlogged projects. CM Kevin Rhoten (District 14) and I will host a community meeting when we get closer to this project happening, but they are still in the process of selecting a contractor, so we don’t have a definitive date yet.
On July 28, the Planning Commission approved a proposal for a 36-unit apartment complex at 1636 Lebanon Pike. This proposal is a rezoning to an SP (Specific Plan) and Metro Planning has done an excellent job working with me and helping guide the developer in many aspects of ensuring it would be a quality development. I had a very good neighborhood meeting with residents of Clovernook. This proposed development does not encroach into the neighborhood, but neighbors gave great feedback on to ensure it is a quality development as it relates to home values as well as storm water run-off issues and traffic impact. It is currently an undeveloped property and I appreciate the owners, developer and architect’s time to listen to neighbors and accommodate some tweaks to the proposal. I believe it will be a great fit for the area and is not a very large development with only up to 36 units. Amenities may include vaulted ceilings and marble countertops and it’s the intent of the developer to make it a long lasting positive impact to the area. After meeting with the neighbors, I was ready to give full approval to move this forward.
The Metro Action Commission has changed their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program so that participants can receive benefits earlier. Read the letter below for more information and click here for application.
With the Zika Virus a big concern, many have asked about mosquito prevention. The Metro Health Department has created a Public Service Announcement video to remind everyone how we can help in our neighborhoods. Visit their website here to view the PSA and get more information.
You may have read news stories about the status of Google Fiber being made available in Nashville such as this story in the Nashville Scene. My intent is to help initiative the roll out of as quickly as possible. AT&T and Comcast have big concerns about the logistics of sharing the poles where their existing service wiring is placed. AT&T has even suggested they may sue the city if the current proposed legislation is passed. I am on the Metro Council Public Works Committee and I am committed to doing everything I can to bring both sides together, avoid any possibility of litigation that would only cost the tax payers and delay roll out of Google Fiber’s service. I am hopeful all sides will work better together. Stay tuned for more info on my Facebook page and in future newsletters.
I am honored to be a co-sponsor of a bill to rehabilitate and restore the steam engine train housed at Centennial Park. The intent is to move it to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum and make it operational once again. It appears to be in great shape, even after so many decades of not being in use. Read about this exciting effort here.
My latest Soul of a City blog features a very talented singer/songwriter/artist and Donelson neighbor, Brennin. He’s worked extremely hard and has earned every success. I hope you enjoy learning more about our neighbor and listening to a selection of his music.
My latest Hearts of the People blog features our one and only 15th District Beautification Commissioner, Naomi Regensburg. Naomi gives so much of her time and talent and truly sets the bar for community service here in Donelson. Whether it’s taking care of our Donelson Gateway Project sites in the heat of summer, coordinating trash and bulk-item pick-ups for us or setting up and working at the Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market, she is constantly serving all of us. Next time you see Naomi at the market or out in the community somewhere, be sure to tell her how thankful and lucky we are to have her as a neighbor and friend.