Jeff Syracuse

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Ravenwood Regional Park Ribbon Cutting, Litter Clean-Up and Two Legislative Successes

Dear Friends,

Ravenwood Pavilion Rendering Donelson TNI look forward to joining Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation and Kevin Rhoten - Metro Council District 14 for a groundbreaking ceremony for Ravenwood Regional Park on August 20, Friday, 10:00 a.m. at the construction site of the park. The park will transform 800 acres of farmland near the historic landmark Stone Hall into a space for recreation, hiking, play, kids’ activities, and a quiet ambiance.

“Ravenwood Park is located only a few miles from downtown Nashville. It will fill a notable void in the area by providing vital recreational opportunities to the residents of Donelson and Hermitage as well as others across the county,” said Monique Horton Odom, Director of Metro Parks. The project is in the early stages of development. Phase One of the project includes demolition, earthwork, paving, landscaping, and site utilities. It will also involve the construction of an entry road, greenway and trails, parking lot, playground, large pavilion, sports court and fitness equipment, sidewalks, and open lawn.

Ravenwood Park, uniquely surrounded by almost four miles of highly scenic river frontage, is tucked off Lebanon Road between the Donelson and Hermitage neighborhoods in a large bend of the Stones River just south of the confluence of the Stones River and the Cumberland River. The area expands into beautiful natural vistas and has a rich history.

The Stones River greenway currently runs along the edge of the site connecting this large park to Shelby Bottoms to the west and the Percy Priest Dam to the east. Stone Hall, the local historic landmark known as the Donelson Home, was acquired in 2007 and sits at the front of the site along Lebanon Pike.

Former Mayor David Briley, State Representative Darren Jernigan, and Jeff Syracuse, Metro Councilmember District 15, Erin Evans, Metro Councilmember District 12, and Russ Bradford Metro Councilmember, District 13 will be in attendance at the ceremony.

WHO: Metro Parks and Council Member Kevin Rhoten (District 14).

WHAT: Groundbreaking Ceremony to kickoff Phase One construction of Ravenwood Regional Park.

WHEN: August 20, Friday, 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Ravenwood Park, 3401 Central Pike, Hermitage, TN 37076.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-40 East to Central Pike. Merge right to Take exit 221A on TN-45 N/The Hermitage to Central Pike. Turn left on to Central Pike and follow it until it ends at the parking lot at Ravenwood Regional Park.

Welcome to Donelson, Hands On Nashville! I'm thrilled they found a new home here in the 15th District. Here's their latest newsletter where they could use some helping hands with the move. Hands On Nashville does extraordinary things for all of us, so if you're able to lend a helping hand, please click on the newsletter below and sign up.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has approved a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for those who are immunocompromised. The Metro Nashville Public Health Department anticipates receiving the list of the immunocompromised conditions that would be eligible to receive the 3rd dose from as early as Monday. Once MPHD has the guidance we will share it with Meharry Medical College and they will begin providing the third dose at Metro’s drive-thru site located on Murfreesboro Pike. At that point MPHD will also offer the vaccine at their scheduled pop up events. To find the calendar visit the website here (https://www.asafenashville.org) . MPHD will ONLY be offering boosters for those who meet the criteria as established by the ACIP. MPHD also encourages those eligible for the 3rd dose to check with the closest pharmacy, grocery location, or walk-in clinic to find the vaccine at the most convenient location.

The Donelson Hermitage Neighborhood Association will hold a “State of Donelson Hermitage” with area elected officials. Note that this will be held at the Hermitage Precinct and so masks will be required. See flyer below for details.

State of Donelson Hermitage on August 19, 2021

The Donelson Hermitage Neighborhood Association is sponsoring litter clean-ups in our area’s districts. Ours is Sat, August 21 at 8am. Meet at The Crossings Shopping Center where Publix is. Thanks in advance for your help keeping our community clean and beautiful!

I worked on two pieces of legislation for the last couple of years that have finally moved forward. The first was when I was Chair of Parks, Library and Arts when the NFL Draft came to town and the cherry tree incident occurred. That was a combination of poor communication, unclear and inconsistent policy across multiple departments where urban forestry is managed, and lack of community engagement. I pledged to strengthen our policies in regards to managing trees on public property and this bill is the result. I’ve learned a great deal and thank the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps for their focused and knowledgeable leadership in helping craft this bill.

We have dedicated and passionate tree advocates in our Metro departments and this bill codifies the Executive Order that began under Mayor Megan Barry after the widespread clearing of trees at Fort Negley. This bill helps to ensure our policies across departments are consistent, transparent, engaging with community advocates and helps highlight the strong work being done internal to Metro departments and applies data-driven results to ensure we have a healthy and robust urban tree canopy on public property.

We all win when we work together and this bill has taken some time to engage all stakeholders, inside and outside of government. As mentioned below, seeing the widespread destruction of our mature and healthy trees due to the tornado of March 2020 strengthened my resolve to get this right. It’s an ever evolving landscape as we ensure sustainability initiatives are core to our long term success as we continue to develop and grow at a rapid pace. I’m very proud of this work and am again very thankful to the NTCC and all our Metro employees, especially Rebecca Dohn in Metro Water Services, who all worked closely together on this effort. Read the bill here

The second legislative effort passed on August 3rd and supports historic preservation. So many times we hear from neighbors about why we can’t do anything to help save our cultural and historic treasures yet we offer incentives to large out of state corporations. This legislation enacts a State program for Metro to create a tax abatement program to incentivize investment in historic properties and will not dip into our budgeted revenue and only abate the . This is the only program available to local municipalities by the State legislature. This program does many things, including encouraging the local designation and therefore the long-term preservation of historic buildings and sites, provides a financial incentive to rehabilitate existing property where zoning allows for a greater financial return to demolish and develop new, designed to improve neighborhoods and increase the value of properties that might otherwise be demolished or remain vacant, encourages rehab over replacement new construction, which has multiple benefits to the growth of a municipality. Rehab of existing buildings is more likely to add to the affordable/accessible housing pool and more likely to serve new and small businesses than new construction. Rehab is more environmentally sustainable than new construction as it retains embodied energy and keeps valuable building materials out of the landfill. In Metro Nashville, 23% of the waste we send to landfill is created from construction and demolition waste. When landfilled, this material can create greenhouse gases. Reduces the cost of living or the cost of doing business for a temporary period of time and stimulates the economy by encouraging rehabilitation. Rehab keeps more money and jobs local than new construction. This same activity improves property and communities, which means higher property tax revenue for the city once abatements expires. It encourages continued development within established areas with existing infrastructure rather than encouraging sprawl. To read the bill and about the program guidelines (found as the Exhibit link in the legislation), click here.

I have been working on a number of developments with neighbors around them and will have a more comprehensive update on all of them in a subsequent newsletter. Donelson Plaza’s phase two has commenced. Stay up to date at www.donelsonplaza.com at the Updates section for details. The project team for the new library continue to work hard and hope to have details to share in the next couple of months.

Every ten years after the U.S. Census is complete, Metro Nashville must review and analyze the data to ensure districts are balanced in population through a process known as redistricting. The process for Nashville is overseen by the Metro Nashville Planning Department, who launched a new website this week aimed at educating and engaging the community. The website, redistrict.nashville.gov (https://redistrict.nashville.gov/) , includes a survey, a timeline of the process, frequently asked questions, and a map of how council and school board districts have changed as Nashville has grown.

Metro Planning is beginning community engagement before receiving updated population totals from the U.S. Census Bureau to give the community time to learn about the process. However, Metro Planning will not begin preparing new district lines until that data is available. It's important to note, these recommendations will only pertain to Metro Council and Metro School Board districts and will not impact school attendance zones or State or Federal representations. Residents are encouraged to take the survey now. There will also be opportunities to participated in public workshops later this fall. Metro Planning will continue to work with Metro Council and Metro School Board members to help keep communities informed on the process, as well as share public engagement events.

Best,

jeff syracuse

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Donelson Plaza Palooza, Rezoning Community Meeting, Digital Inclusion Survey and Job Fair

Dear Friends,

As the weather warms up and everyone is getting out more after being vaccinated, here’s a great opportunity to enjoy our new green space in front of the new Donelson Library site and support Donelson Plaza businesses. On Saturday, May 22nd from 10am – 3pm, bring your chair or blanket, visit Plaza business booths with special deals and grab a lunch at one of the Plaza businesses while enjoying live music and performances in addition to special programming from our Nashville Library! Plus, the Civic Design Center wants your ideas for the public space in front of the Donelson Library. Visit their “Soundbox” shipping container during the event!

Donelson Plaza Palooza

I will be hosting a community meeting on Thursday, May 13th at 6:30pm via Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8343340820) so the development team can introduce themselves and make a proposal. 2842 Lebanon Pike is proposed as three 2,500 sq ft commercial buildings with five condo buildings at 79 total units. 2850 Lebanon Pike is proposed as five condo buildings at 63 total units. These two are separate filings and would be separate bills, but because they are close together, I wanted to ensure they run together through the process. They are scheduled to be at the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 10th.

Donelson UDO

The Nashville Digital Inclusion and Access Taskforce is seeking input from Metro residents about the digital divide—the growing gap between those who benefit from technology and those who are excluded in the digital age. The Taskforce is led by Dr. Fallon Wilson of Black Tech Futures Research Institute and Dr. Samantha Perez of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. The group aims to collect data to enable Metro Government and local organizations to make data-driven decisions about how they serve the public, particularly those who have low or no Internet access or digital literacy. The survey is one of 21 strategies set forth in Connected Nashville, Metro’s smart city plan, developed by a 76-person working group. Funded by Frist Foundation, Google Fiber and Nashville Public Education Foundation, the survey is conducted collectively by Vanderbilt Peabody, the Digital Inclusion and Access Taskforce, and The Equity Alliance. Results of the survey will be publicly shared with the community and published on the Metro Open Data Portal. Additionally, the Taskforce will issue recommendations to maximize the impact of existing initiatives and resources by targeting work to address areas of greatest need, as identified by the survey. To take the survey, Nashville residents are invited to visit http://bit.do/digequitynash through May 15 (http://bit.do/digequitynash%20through%20May%2015) .

There will be a two-day job fair hosted by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. One of the days will be at Opryland. See flyer below for details.

Job Fair Flyer May 2021

I’m honored to have been asked to be among the faculty of Neighbor 2 Neighbor’s C4N Nashville 2021. I will be participating in the panel discussion, "The Role of a Metro Council Member in Planning and Development." C4N Nashville is a one-day training and networking event for anybody who wants to make a positive difference in their neighborhood. Choose from 25 workshops, facilitated conversations, panel discussions, and presentations on eight key neighborhood passions.

Please plan to join me virtually at C4N Nashville on Saturday, May 15th. Learn more and register at https://www.n2n.solutions/c4n.

C4N Nashville

Best,

jeff syracuse

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2021 Reappraisal and Tax Impact, Farmer’s Market 2021 Season, Community Clean Up and More

Dear Friends,

Everyone should be receiving their 2021 reappraisal information in the mail soon if not already.  As you’ll note in the packet in the graphic below, growth has not slowed down, even through the pandemic  Here are two graphics with heat maps that compare the 2013-2017 growth vs the 2017-2021 along with very important information about the reappraisal process, which is mandated by State law.

2021 Reappraisal Packet 1

2021 Reappraisal Packet 2

2021 Reappraisal Packet 3

2021 Reappraisal Packet 4

As you’re probably aware, the State mandates the reappraisal process to be revenue neutral, so as the values go up, the tax rate must come down.  That also means that if you’re above the average countywide reappraisal rate, the impact to your property taxes is that they usually go up.  If you’re below the median increase, they generally go down.  Check out our tax rate compared to Tennessee’s four biggest cities.  You’ll note the impact of the reappraisals over the years.

Property Tax Graph 25 Year 4 Cities

A lot people were understandably upset at the 34% tax increase last year.  It couldn’t have come at a worse time due to pandemic and economic shutdown.  Among the financial issues we have, the biggest one is that we haven’t managed the tax rate well.  If you’ll note on the 25-year tax graph, historically after the appraisal occurs and affects the tax rate to go down, the Mayor and Council will nudge it up nice and easy in the years afterwards to account for growth.  That didn’t happen in 2017 and we were left with an unsustainably low rate.  We hadn’t nudged the rate up since 2012 and should have done that so we wouldn’t have been looking at such a stark increase last year (which was still 30 cents cheaper than it was in 2017).  So, here we are again with an appraisal that shows rapid property value increases, which means the rate will drop back down to historic lows.  Yes, we have issues with overspending and too high of debt, but our overall financial outlook is strong if we can keep our hands tight on the reigns of the tax rate.  We’re still operating with fewer Metro employees than we had in 2003.  We have a lot of work to do to manage growth and ensure it is benefiting everyone.  When you add the impact of the pandemic and the economic shutdown, the trillions of dollars that has come from the federal government assistance to states, cities and local municipalities, we have to be laser focused on stable fiscal management, which means budgeting thinking about the long term and not using federal government assistance to balance our budget.  That would be dangerous as those funds will not be here forever and we need to focus on those funds supporting schools, small business, out of work neighbors and other critical areas so we can get through the pandemic’s impact.  We will get through this together.

The Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market returns for the 10th season at Two Rivers Mansion on Friday, May 7th at 4pm.  This is a treasure of an event for the community and hope you will make plans to support it every Friday through October.

The Donelson Gateway Project needs your help for the annual spring cleanup.  “Many hands make light work”.  Meet at the Briley Pkwy / Lebanon Pk site on Saturday, May 8th at 10am.  We can disperse to other sites as needed.  Thank you for your support of keeping Donelson beautiful!

The Buchanan Family Festival Fish Fry & Flea Market will be May 15th at 11am.  See flyer below for details.

BLH 2021 Festival Flyer

The annual Phil the House with Arts and Friends at Two Rivers Mansion will be on Sunday, May 16th from 1-4pm and will feature the photography of local resident and Friends member Doug Almy.

I’m now fully vaccinated and encourage everyone to do the same so we can get back to opening the city back up 100%, all our kids back in school and put this pandemic behind us.  All COVID19 related info, including how to sign up for vaccine appointments can be found here.

Finally, I will be sending out another newsletter about two rezoning meetings coming up (one for a single family home development at 2600 Pennington Bend Rd and the other for condo developments at 2842 and 2850 Lebanon Pike) plus an exciting community event on Saturday, May 22nd.  So, stay tuned to another newsletter on the heels of this one once I firm up dates and details.

Best,

jeff syracuse

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Let’s Work Together to Create a Better 2021

Dear Friends,

The recent insurrection attempt at the US Capital shows that the complexities that arose in 2020 are not yet in the rear-view mirror.  Many have asked about reports of continued protests and rallies that may turn violent.  The below letter from MNPD Chief Drake was received by Metro Council Members.

January 11 Letter To Metro Council

There is an understandable amount of anxiety and frustration about the rollout of the vaccine.  As with all things related to COVID-19, this website is your best local source to follow Metro Health Department processes and find when your eligible timeframe for receiving the vaccine is here and how to sign up.  That’s also the place to continue to get the latest information on testing centers.  Further helpful information at the State Department of Health here is a good resource as well.

As you may have seen, I’ve been on the news a bit to talk about the uptick in crime, mostly stemming from our hotel / motel and hospitality businesses in the district.  As mentioned to the media, some of this is not new to an uptick we see around the holidays, but certainly some is attributed to the ancillary issues from the pandemic.  I have worked hard at establishing a stronger communication network between our Hermitage Precinct and hospitality businesses and has already shown to have some efficacy.  It will be a monthly meeting focused specifically on how our hospitality businesses can unite together, apply best practices of managing their parking lots guided by the Hermitage Precinct, share resources for being more proactive in protecting their properties, and utilizing improved technology to create a faster, more effective communication network to all area hospitality businesses and MNPD when an incident happens.

As you have likely noticed, we have an uptick in homelessness issues in the district and new camps have been set up in various locations.  Homelessness is one of the most complex issues to deal with and must be done with sensitivity and support for our unhoused neighbors.To that end, I am hosting a virtual community meeting on this topic on Thursday, January 28th at 7pm.  I strongly encourage everyone to attend.  Thanks to Donelson neighbor Tara Shaver, she will host the meeting on her corporate Zoom account and manage the logistics.  We will hear from our Metro Homeless Impact Division and learn about their role and efforts, non-profit partners engaged in this effort, including Open Table Nashville, Room at the Inn, Mental Health Cooperative and People Loving Nashville.  Sergeant Jeff White with our Hermitage Precinct will be in attendance to discuss MNPD’s role and efforts as they interact with the homeless community and how they interact with other Metro Departments.  He will also discuss panhandling, which is a separate issue, but is somewhat connected to community concerns.  State Representative Darren Jernigan will be in attendance to discuss this from a State perspective.  This meeting will require registration.  Please visit this link to register.

I continue to work hard on all things related to any further development in the Pennington Bend area, specifically on infrastructure.  Last term I focus efforts on attempting to push for a third interchange.  That does not appear likely to happen at all for several reasons, so am now focused on ensuring private development proposals to include ample infrastructure support and have created a couple new Capital Improvement Budget requests of Metro for future planning.  Stay tuned for a community meeting within the next two months that’ll hold to bring everyone up to speed with my efforts.

Despite the challenges before us both at a national and local level, I have strong faith in our ability to come together and meet these challenges and create a brighter future for the next generation.  I hope you will join me in working to find common ground, vehemently reject extremism as a cancer upon our democracy, create and participate in constructive dialogue (especially on social media), and be part of solutions to our problems in service to each other.

Best,

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COVID-19 Information, Tornado Recovery, Federal Stimulus and State of Metro

Dear Friends,
 
Since the tornado, things have moved so quickly, it has been difficult to sit down and compose a newsletter.  I’d like to give a very big public Thank You to Chelsea Moubarak, who has assisted several Council Members with putting together a comprehensive list of information, resources and much more.  She’s done a great job with compiling much of the information below.
 
Between the tornado and now a global pandemic, I know it feels like we’re living in the Twilight Zone.  There has never been a time more than now as your Council Member that I have felt more helpless.  My heart breaks for those that were impacted by the tornado and now we’ve been hit with the one-two punch in dealing with COVID-19.  That said, I have seen extraordinary service to one another and unparalleled perseverance.  Thank you to each of you for taking care of your neighbors and community.  Please continue to support small business and their employees who are struggling immensely now.  Take-out, delivery and curb side service are being offered by just about all our favorite local restaurants.

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“The State of Donelson and Hermitage” Forum Coming Plus the Next Mayor’s Night Out and Budget Meetings

Dear Friends –

The Donelson-Hermitage Neighborhood Association is hosting a “State of Donelson and Hermitage” forum at FiftyForward Donelson Station on Monday, March 9th at 7pm.  See flyer below for details.  See you there.

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Pennington Bend Update on Developments and Community Engagement for the Next Metro Budget and a Public Art Piece

Dear Friends –

I’ve received a great deal of phone calls, emails and social media tags with questions about the big 130-acre development that began recently, which will be called Pennington Centre.  I thought it best to detail this land’s history, where we are headed and also provide information on other projects and overall what my efforts have been specifically in the Pennington Bend area since I first took office in 2015.

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Happy New Year! What’s ahead in 2020, Update on Metro Finances and Important Transit Meeting

Dear Friends –

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season.  Hard to believe 2019 is done.  I know I’m a bit behind sending out a newsletter.  Let’s dive right in.  Lots to cover here, mostly on what’s happening in Metro and economic development in the community.
 
The biggest and most important focus right now is getting our finances back on track.  Things have been moving quickly since the term began.  I’ll try to break this down in a palatable way.

  • The initial FY19/20 budget was not balanced because the plan to bring in a private company to manage on-street parking and selling our downtown district energy system was not approved, thankfully so, because neither were a good idea.  However, that did leave us with about a $41.5 million gap to close in this budget.  
  • An unbalanced budget is against State law.  Justin Wilson, the Comptroller for the State of Tennessee, visited Metro Council’s Budget & Finance Committee (of which I’m a member) to make a presentation of where we stand and actions that need to happen.  CM Mendes, Budget & Finance Chair, added the presentation on his website here.  CM Mendes and a number of other colleagues have become more adept than I at getting out quick communication (I know… my newsletters are long and have been working to get shorter e-blasts out there, especially with situations like this that are very fluid.)  I encourage you to follow CM Mendes’s website for his excellent and informative updates here.

  • Mayor Cooper has made some difficult decisions as we knew he would have to in order to correct our fiscal issues and balance the budget and fill the $41.5 revenue gap.  Some of the below is rather complicated.  Here is how the revenue gap has been filled and was approved by the State Comptroller:

    * An agreement with the Convention Center Authority will bring about $12.6 million annually back into the general fund from the Music City Center via a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Taxes) agreement.
    * $10 million via a PILOT with Metro Water Services.
    * $7.2 million MDHA TIF (Tax Increment Financing) payment reduction ($10.8 million was the total, with $7.2 million to Metro and $3.6 million to Metro Schools).
    * $3.6 million from the Convention and Visitors Corporation.  Debt Service reimbursements for facilities that attract tourists are an allowable use of Tourist Promotion funds under TN Code and the CVC will adjust their spending from that fund to accommodate the $3.6 million reimbursement.
    * $500k from program reimbursements from Sheriff’s Office / US Marshall Service.  The Sheriff will be housing federal prisoners under an existing contract.  It’s important to note this contract does not include ICE detainees. This is a net gain of revenue to Metro, and funds will need to be allocated to the Sheriff’s Office to budget for this new programming.
    * $2.6 million in targeted savings, fund balances and deferrals:
    $600,000 of excess fund balance that has built up in the impound lot fund that will be transferred to the General Fund.
    * $450,000 budgeted for the staffing study and public property performance audit that have not been started and cannot be completed this fiscal year.
    * $200,000 of the amount budgeted in post audits where current projections indicate this funding will not be needed to close out the fiscal year.
    * $100,000 of contingency that has not been used and that Finance doesn’t believe will be needed this year. 

The remaining $1.2 million is anticipated excess savings from various departments and agencies throughout Metro.Last year nearly all Metro departments and agencies exceeded their targeted savings amounts by a collective total of $8.8 million.Departments and agencies continue to be mindful of the need for savings and based on mid-year budget meetings, we believe they will again collectively exceed savings targets.

  • Of the budgeted $10 million for the Barnes Fund that goes towards assisting affordable housing projects, only $5 million will be awarded.  The Mayor has said this is a partial impoundment of this fund and will strive to ensure it is put back in future budgets.  This does delay some critical affordable housing projects from moving forward.

Another decision that was made that I fully support is $18 million that was debt already approved for the Gulch pedestrian bridge has been reallocated for other critical infrastructure projects, traffic calming, street lights and needed new trash cans around the county.  In addition, the promised extra 3% pay increase last summer that teachers would get starting January 1, 2020 was kept under the new administration.  So, where do we go from here?  As this upcoming budget planning cycle is absolutely critical, there is agreement to start it early.  Our fiscal year is July 1, but the budgeting process has already been started in the administration and the cycle will be moved up one month to June 1, so that the Comptroller has ample time to oversee and approve that we have improved cash management, redevelop adequate reserves.
 
Will a property tax increase be on the horizon?   I believe so, yes.  Is it warranted?  I believe so, yes.  What will it be and where will it go?  That’s the critical question we will address in the months ahead.  I have voted against a property tax increase over the last two years.  I didn’t feel there was 1) a substantial long term plan for how revenues would be used and 2) a lack of trust that there wasn’t a fundamental change in direction that would’ve otherwise just fueled more development and not directed the money to critical areas of schools and public safety.  You may hear from a colleague or two on Council who believe we need to make more cuts.  I disagree and have yet to hear what cuts there are left to make.  I believe we’ve cut to the bone.  I have engaged with staff at our departments at all levels.  Our staffing levels at departments and they’ve consistently made more and more cuts.  Their staffing levels are what they were during the recession more than a decade ago and our ability to recruit and retain teachers, police officers and fire fighters is hampered by our lack of ability to support them with competitive salaries.  This absolutely must change.  Here’s one recent story highlighting the challenges we face.  Our property tax rate is the lowest in Metro history after the 2017 property reassessment.  We will have another reassessment in 2021.  I believe under Mayor Cooper’s leadership and Council’s hard work, we will continue to trim spending, address our revenue needs and ensure every penny is put to address our top priorities.

Here’s a good story about where we are headed with the budget process this year.
 
Mayor Cooper’s administration is hosting a series of eleven public listening sessions about where we go from here in regards to transit.  Read about all of them here.  The one for our side of town will be on Thursday, January 16th at 6pm at FiftyForward Donelson Station.  Please mark your calendars and make plans to attend this important meeting.

Coffee with Mayor Cooper

At Council last Tuesday I had the honor of presenting a resolution I sponsored honoring the 50th Anniversary of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. I was joined by Councilwoman Zulfat Suara, Council Member At-Large Burkley Allen, Erin Evans, Metro Councilmember District 12 and Brett Withers for Council District 6. Thanks to Councilwoman Joy Styles - District 32 for the picture.  CEO Melissa Hudson-Gant accepted the resolution and was joined by David Fish and his little brother Jayden (who also had the opportunity to use Vice Mayor Shulman's gavel and start the meeting) along with Nicole Cochran and her son William, who was the little brother of Frank Trew, which made it very special and personal for me. I'd like to think Frank would be proud of the resolution and especially how great of a young man William has become.  I'm very thankful for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee and the incredible impact they've made on thousands of young men and women over the years. Read the resolution here.

50th Anniversary of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee
 
Thanks to those that attended the rezoning meeting for 1590, 1600, 1602 and 1604 Lebanon Pike.  The initial proposal for a 100-unit apartment complex has been changed after feedback from neighbors.  The proposal is now 19-townhomes in front and 60-unit condo complex with a rooftop amenity to view downtown.  Thus, for-sale product instead of apartments.  There will be no short term rentals and the townhomes will have elements of brick in them.  It is a much improved plan that will add value to the area.  It will be on the February 4th Council Meeting for second reading / public hearing.

Rezoning meeting for 1590, 1600, 1602 and 1604 Lebanon Pike

A number of folks over the past few years have asked about segmenting off a portion of our Two Rivers Dog Park for smaller dogs.  It seems easy enough, but as we know, nothing really is.  I asked some specific questions about the feasibility of this.  What I learned is that just putting up a section of fence to divide it in two doesn’t work.  All the animal behaviorists and other experts that have advised our Metro Parks Department over many years recommend against doing this.  It creates “fence aggression” and other undesirable activity.  Also, if each zone (big and small) don’t have all the same amenities (water, shade, trails, etc.) that’ll create another issue to address.  Instead, the best practice is to create an entirely separate dog park.  Parks has strategically chosen to hold off on installing separate small dog parks using Metro funds until the entire county is first well-served with a general purpose park.  I support this.  I wish it could be done more easily than this, but it is indeed equitable to ensure all parts of the county have access to a dog park before we start building other ones for our smaller dogs.

The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring thousands to help with the big 2020 census.  This is very important as this data collected helps direct grants and other federal support for a variety of topics.  Visit their website here to learn more about the process and job opportunities.
 
Big thanks goes to Piedmont Gas for sponsoring the first ever Nashville Christmas Parade train ride.  They sold around 600 tickets and about filled the train up.  Some proceeds from the “Christmas Parade Express” went to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.  I believe it will be back next year.  I’m always trying to find new sponsorships for weekend rides wherever possible.  See flyer below to learn more about the opportunity.
 
Big thanks goes to Piedmont Gas for sponsoring the first ever Nashville Christmas Parade train ride

Big thanks goes to Piedmont Gas for sponsoring the first ever Nashville Christmas Parade train ride


Best,


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New Term Begins, Election as President Pro Tempore, Community Meetings and More

Dear Friends –

Our second term began smoothly and as Mayor John Cooper’s administration takes shape, so does Metro Council as leadership roles have been assigned and elected as well as committee assignments have been made.  In addition to serving on the Budget & Finance Committee and continue serving on the Parks, Library & Arts Committee, I was also honored and humbled to be elected President Pro Tempore (“Pro Tem”) of Metro Council, which serves as the presiding officer should the Vice Mayor be unable to serve.

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Run-Off Election Important Dates, New Business Updates and It’s Back to School

Dear Friends –

Thanks to everyone who has stayed active and engaged during this election cycle.  Turnout has been fairly low (around 20%), but there is another opportunity to ensure your voice is heard since we are now in a Run-Off Election.  Remember that Tennessee is 49th in voter participation.  We must do better. Visit this link for all voter information and to register or update your registration.

Thanks as well to those that attended my Town Hall on July 11th.  We had a great turnout.  Special thanks to Sean McGuire in Metro Finance, Rob Ward with the Metro Assessor’s Office, Mark North and David Proffitt with MNPS and John Honeysucker with Metro Water.  As promised, here are the slides from that presentation (click on slide below to see full slideshow).  For those not able to make it, we basically had two main sections to the meeting.  The first was an overview of what’s happening in the district.  I could do a long write-up of each slide, but if you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask.  The next section was engaging our special guests with the topics of our current budget situation, taxes, the assessment process, and how we get back to securing a strong fiscal foundation to focus our efforts on supporting education and public safety.

Donelson Town Hall Meeting with Jeff Syracuse

The 2020 Census is gearing up to collect valuable statistics and as much has changed in Nashville over the last decade, ensuring we are an active participant is crucial to ensuring we are allotted our fair share of federal resources.  Learn more here.  In addition, there will be employment opportunities as part of this process, which you can learn about here.  Another reason that strong participation in the census is important is that it will impact our local Council district lines, State House and Senate as well as the reapportioning of congressional seats.  Here’s a jobs flyer for the Census 2020.

Census Flyer 2020

I had the opportunity to participate in a couple important events over the past month or so.  We Remember Nashville was formed to promote community awareness, education about lynching and racial violence that helps the stories are told with dignity, truth, and resilience.  Two historical markers were erected on 1st Avenue near where to lynching occurred. I was proud to join Mayor Briley and At Large Council Member’s Erica Gilmore, Sharon Hurt, and District 23 Council Member Mina Johnson at the marker dedication ceremony.

Week of Remembrance

As the Council’s Chair of Parks, Library and Arts, Joey and I attended a fundraising breakfast for the Friends of Mill Ridge Park, the regional park in the southeast part of the county.  It and our Ravenwood Regional Park in the bend of Stones River are the two new regional parks in development.  CM Rhoten (District 14), whose district Ravenwood is in, secured $12 million to begin the first phase of the development of it.  At some point in the future, we could have a Friends group like Mill Ridge does, that engages the community in support of the Park.  It’s wonderful to see these two regional parks preserving this great open space for the enjoying and benefit for all of Nashville neighbors.

Mill Ridge Park

Best,

Jeff Syracuse, Metro Councilman 15th District

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Join Me for a Community Conversation “Town Hall” on July 11, Paying Respects to Community Leaders of the Greatest Generation and More Updates

Dear Friends –

I’m humbled to be unopposed on the ballot and so I’ve given thought to how I want to proceed with the re-election process.  If you’ve saved my sign from last time and wish to put it out, please feel free! If you’d like one, please let me know and I’d be honored to get you one. Ensuring we have a strong turnout is important. We of course have Mayor, Vice Mayor and At-Large races as well.

Save the date!  Thursday, July 11th. The Donelson Fellowship at 3210 McGavock Pike across the street from McGavock High School.  Doors open at 6:30pm. Meeting starts at 7pm.  I’ve never done one before, so I’ve decided to do a town hall style meeting and hold a Community Conversation as we assess where we are, how we got here, and what’s ahead for Donelson and Nashville in the next four years and what we can do to get our priorities realigned to refocus on schools, public safety and our Metro employees. I’ve sent a mailer that looks like this below to every registered voter in the 15th District, so you should be receiving one. I look forward to seeing you there and having a constructive conversation about Donelson and Nashville’s future.

Early Voting Election Day

District 15 Community Conversation with Jeff Syracuse


Even though I’m unopposed, I’m honored to be receiving endorsements.  Thanks to our Firefighters and Medics at IAFF Local 140, the Fraternal Order of Police Jackson Lodge #5, and the political committee of the Coalition for Nashville Neighborhoods.

Nashville Fire EMS Rescue

Nashville Business Coalition

Fraternal Order Of Police

Coalition logo Nashville For Neighborhoods

Don’t forget you have until July 2nd to register or change your address, which can be done online.  Go to www.nashville.gov/vote for all voter information.  If you need one, you can secure an absentee ballot here.  Below is the Early Voting Schedule.

Voting Schedule

The community has lost four community and business leaders recently.  Charlie Cardwell was one of the longest (if not the longest) serving Metro employee and had been our Metro Trustee through six Mayoral administrations I believe.  He embodied professionalism, respect, integrity and what all elected officials should aspire to be.  John Harwell, Sr. invested in Donelson during the early days and brought businesses like Two Rivers Ford to Donelson that were here and thrived for decades.  Larry Keeton and John A. Hobbs were both World War II veterans, were top business leaders in Donelson, gave back in extraordinary ways, they took care of their neighborhoods and so much more.  Dick’s Flowers & Petals, The Larry Keeton Theater, Nashville Palace and John A’s Restaurant have all been places that became institutions in the community that Larry and John A created respectively.  All four of these men earned and deserved great respect from their community because of their leadership in making us the great place we are today.  They will all be missed and their legacy of service to community will be felt forever.

Larry Keeton

John A Hobbs

Best,

Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council, District 15

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New Donelson Library Project Begins, Unopposed on the Ballot and a New Sister City in Music

Dear Friends –

The groundbreaking for our new Donelson Library was a memorable morning with beautiful weather.  Thanks to everyone who were able to attend.  Nashville Library Director Kent Oliver, student library patron Elijah Byrd and neighbor Diana Bradford spoke on the importance of our library to them.  Mayor Briley and I also spoke and then we officially broke ground on the full project.  As you’ve already noticed, road closures have begun as infrastructure work begins.  Most of the work done this year will be all related to stormwater, road and sidewalks.  Remember to keep tabs with the Donelson Plaza website.  The library itself may not go vertical until next year with hopefully (fingers crossed) completion by the end of 2021.  Below are a few pictures, including our fantastic Donelson Library Branch Manager, Chris Morin, who I couldn’t resist taking a selfie because of his “Libraries Rock” shirt.  They sure do and it’s in large part because of Chris and his staff!

New Donelson Library Project Begins

New Donelson Library Project Begins

New Donelson Library Project Begins

Thanks to everyone who supported our area restaurants on my six-stop Lunch & Brunch Tour and management and staff at Phat Bites, John A’s, Party Fowl, Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace, Nectar: Urban Cantina and Caliber Coffee.  I enjoyed our conversations.  I turned in my ballot and I am humbled and honored to be un-opposed on the ballot this year for re-election.  It’s been the most rewarding yet challenging endeavor of my life and I truly do love the job.  Thanks for your continued support and engagement.  There are a number of opportunities and celebrations ahead for us.

Lunch & Brunch Campaign Tour

Below is the Early Voting Schedule.  If you need one, you can secure an absentee ballot here.  We will of course be voting on Mayor, Vice Mayor and At Large, so be sure to put voting on your calendar and be sure to vote!

Early Voting Schedule

After the horrendous rains in February, they actually compromised the integrity of some bridges in areas along Greenways around us.  It appears one of the worst ones is a critical link between Donelson and East Nashville along Shelby Bottoms.  Metro Parks & Recreation released the below map recently with a detour and more information.

Shelby Bottoms Bridge

In April, I had the extraordinary opportunity to make my second trip to Chengdu, China (on my dime, not the taxpayer’s).  Chengdu is becoming a key city in Asia for trade in a number of industries, notably the music and entertainment industry.  Over the last couple of years, Nashville’s relationship with Chengdu has grown and we’ve officially become Sister Cities.  Council Member Sharon Hurt and I attended the 8th Music Cities Convention.  We were honored to present this framed resolution Metro Council passed and signed by Mayor Briley recognizing this Sister Cities relationship to Mr. Zhong Laizho with the Chengdu Office of Foreign and Overseas Affairs.  I am hopeful this will broaden our cultural sharing, strengthen the dialog on the importance of strong Copyright protections for creators and enhance Nashville’s presence as an international city.  48 cities around the world were present to showcase their music and entertainment economies and it was a fascinating learning experience.  I brought back new relationships from many of those cities that I believe will be of strong value to Nashville in the years ahead.  Special thanks to our Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera for sharing some small gifts that I was able to present to our hosts and industry leaders in Chengdu.

Chengdu Sister City with Nashville

Chengdu Sister City with Nashville

I wanted to mention a recent story in the Nashville Business Journal I read recently regarding the growing discontent with how Nashville is managing our growth.  In my role as your Council Member, I have a particular acute sense of this from both hearing from you and managing the growth.  This budget season also in particular highlights some of the issues surrounding this.  Teacher pay and MNPS funding, the parking privatization proposal, WeGo (MTA/RTA) reduced service and increased fares, and other issues have surfaced as indicative of how and why we need to double down on efforts to be fiscally conservative, cease large incentives that negatively impact our operating budget, put our Metro employees first and protect the quality of life Nashville residents deserve to have.  The larger issue is that our property tax rate is the lowest it’s ever been in Metro’s history.  As we’ve gone through this budget process, it’s clear we don’t have sufficient revenues to meet the demands of our growing city, especially when after our regular property reappraisal that caused the rate to drop so low since per State law, we can’t generate revenue on a reassessment, so when the value goes up, the rate must come down to equalize the overall revenue generated by property taxes.  While I believe there is broad consensus we need to adjust our property tax rate, I want to first ensure we are fundamentally changing direction to not fund unabated growth downtown through “corporate welfare” type of incentives that will only add to debt and negatively impact our operating budget.  If we can achieve that and the increased revenues are dedicated to teachers, schools, police, fire and Metro employees, then I can support that.  The reality is that our Metro employees have taken the brunt of our growth in working so hard with little to no cost of living adjustments while we recovered from the Great Recession and May 2010 flood.  We owe our Metro employees a great deal because of the work they’ve done.  I’m not sure if will be this year or next, but I believe a property tax rate proposal will come before us at some point and I believe it will ultimately be warranted as long as it accompanies a budget that is not focused on debt and growth, but managing growth and funding basic services.

Metro Emergency Alert and Notification System (MEANS) is a new public safety program that enables Metro to let you know what safety actions to take when there’s danger.  Once registered, you can choose how to receive communications: cellphone, landline, text/SMS, or TTY.  Users can enter one or more addresses to receive location-based emergency notifications.  For example, if a user adds their home and work address to their account, they will receive emergency notifications when either of these two addresses is within the boundaries of an alert’s location.  If a user wishes to only receive countywide text/SMS messages, they can simply text the keyword ‘NashAlerts’ to 888-777.

Users with smartphones are also urged to download the Everbridge Mobile App from the Apple App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).  The Everbridge app brings the added security of delivering alerts to cell phones based on a user’s physical location at the time of an emergency.  When you register and provide your contact information, MEANS enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as criminal activity and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.  Get the alerts you want, the way you want – cell or landline phone call, text, email or TTY.

PRO TIP: When you register, please provide at least one street address. This can be your home address, or the address of a nearby grocery store, library or fire station. An address is not required, but it will ensure that the alerts you receive are focused on locations that matter to you -- places where you live, work and play.

Metro Emergency Alert and Notification System

This summer, consider taking a class through Nashville Community Education.  Check out their Summer 2019.

Thousands of veterans will receive free dental care on Saturday, June 8th, when Aspen dentists and their teams from more than 450 offices across 39 states open their doors for Aspen Dental’s 6th annual National Day of Service, including 4054 Lebanon Pike in Hermitage.  Many veterans struggle to find accessible and affordable dental care, in particular because most aren’t eligible for dental benefits through the VA unless they’re 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury or were a prisoner of war.  It’s estimated that 470,390 veterans live in Tennessee.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Interested veterans need an appointment to receive care and should call 1-844-AspenHMM (1-844-277-3646) to find a participating practice in their community and schedule an appointment in advance – space is limited and appointments are filling-up fast!
  • Spread the word in your community! Be sure to use #HealthyMouthMovement and @AspenDental when posting on Twitter and Facebook. Below are some sample posts you can share.

Best,

jeff syracuse

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New Donelson Branch Library Groundbreaking, Petition Signing Brunch & Lunch Tour and Why I Voted No on Amazon’s Incentive

Dear Friends –

I’m excited to announce that the closing happened on the piece of Donelson Plaza where Castner Knott was located and as they say the “keys have passed and checks have cashed”.  The people of Nashville-Davidson County own a central piece of property in the heart of Donelson where we will start a new era in Donelson’s future with a beautiful new 25,000 square foot Donelson Branch Library.  To celebrate this and kick off the work about to commence, I invite you to join Mayor David Briley and me at a groundbreaking on Monday, May 13th at 10:00am.  What will begin to occur soon is roadwork improvements, sidewalks and other related infrastructure upgrades.  The library construction likely won’t begin until early next year once the groundwork is laid with all the infrastructure.  Exciting times are ahead.  Keep tabs on the new website for Donelson Plaza.

Donelson Plaza Site Plan

I’m so thankful to everyone who came out to my Birthday Party and Re-Election Kick Off.  My big thanks to Barrett Hobbs and all the staff at Scoreboard Bar & Grill.  They did a fantastic job and it was a special night.  Thanks to each and every one of you who came and showed your support.   Big thanks to my Treasurer, Jenny White, former 15th District Beautification Commissioner Naomi Regensburg and my son Joey for managing the front table where folks signed in and contributed.  Scoreboard’s regular Wednesday night musical entertainment was of course among the great singer, songwriter and musicians, Randy Moore.  Check out his incredible career here.  Everyone who contributed helped create a truly strong foundation for this campaign that will help ensure success in August on Election Day.  So again, my sincere thanks!  Here’s a few pictures of the evening.  Thanks to everyone for singing Happy Birthday to me.  It was a fun night!

Jeff Syracuse Re Election Campaign

Jeff Syracuse Re Election Campaign

Jeff Syracuse Re Election Campaign

Jeff Syracuse Re Election Campaign

The next step in the election process is to secure signatures of my 15th District neighbors to get my name on the ballot.  So, in keeping with the theme of having an enjoyable time on this campaign, I thought I’d do a “Brunch & Lunch Tour of Donelson”.  We’ve had so many great restaurants open up over the last handful of years in addition to the ones we know and love, so I thought as part of this process, we’d support local and gather together for coffee or a meal and I can also hear your thoughts, ideas or any issues you’d like to chat about.  Here’s the schedule of where I’ll be and when and I hope you’ll come out to support our local restaurants, sign my petition and chat about Donelson.

I’ll have a newly printed batch of fridge magnets.  They’ve been a big hit during this past term and I ran out about six months ago.  I’ll have them at all of our brunch & lunch meet-ups.

Fridge Magnets - Jeff Syracuse Re Election Campaign

As you may have read in the Tennessean, I spoke out against Amazon’s job incentive package.  To reiterate what I said on the Council floor, I welcome and support Amazon’s investment in Nashville.  It is historic in that it’s the single largest jobs announcement in Tennessee’s history.  I also don’t have a problem with supporting the standard jobs incentive package that we’ve been using for years.  From a broader perspective, I understand the discussion on whether or not we need to use these incentive packages.  The reality is that most all cities across the US are authorized by their State governments to use them and they do so as a competitive tool.  Unless there is some change at the federal level that equalizes their use, they’re not going anywhere and we will lose out on quality economic development in Metro if we don’t compete.  That said, what crosses the line for me with Amazon’s incentive is the correlation between asking for a jobs incentive while at the same time at the federal level, fighting against an equitable royalty rate for streaming services that is a fundamental income stream to the job of being a songwriter.  This coming month, I celebrate 20 years working at BMI, where I’ve worked tirelessly to line the pockets of songwriters, not shareholders.  While the streaming rate in question is a totally separate copyright than the area I’m involved with in my day job (mechanicals vs. public performance), songwriters have struggled immensely to maintain the stability of their own jobs over the last two decades as digital technologies have brought massive change to the way we all listen to music.  That has resulted in a stark drop in working songwriters right here in Nashville.  Even so, Nashville remains the place where the most concentration of songwriters live in any city in the world.  With the recent unanimous passage of the Music Modernization Act in Congress that paves the way for stability for the industry and the January 2018 decision by the Copyright Royalty Board (a panel of federal judges that set the standard rates for royalties), we are finally getting to a place where songwriters will be able to eventually make a living wage for their craft again.  We can never take for granted what makes use Music City, USA.  Amazon, Spotify, Google and Pandora have all appealed the CRB’s gradual raising of the streaming rate.  Only Apple Music decided not to appeal.  My objection to Amazon’s jobs incentive deal is taking a stand with our neighbors here across Davidson County who do not deserve to be asked by a massive company that generated $11.2 billion in profit last year to take more money from their pockets if they are not going to respect an equitable rate for songwriter royalties.  That said, I’ve had respectful conversations with Amazon and while I will voted No on their jobs incentive, I pledged to work with them and engage them in our music community.

As the Chair of Metro Council’s Parks, Library & Arts Committee, I was proud to sponsor a resolution recognizing Metro Art’s 40th Anniversary.  A presentation of the resolution was presented at Metro Council recently.

Metro Arts

Metro Arts Annual Report for FY18 was released and I’m especially proud that they have positively impacted every district in the county.  I encourage you to read it here.

Also as Chair of Parks, Library & Arts, I had the duty to address the issue of the imminent destruction of the cherry trees at Riverfront Park.  Upon learning of the shocking news that 21 cherry trees would be cut down to make room for the NFL Draft stage, the public outcry was intense and rightfully so.  I am pleased that we were able to work with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation and the Mayor’s Office to stop that plan and instead only transplant 10 trees.  It is indeed a difficult time of year to transplant trees successfully, but I have faith in our horticulturist with Metro Parks who believes they can be saved.  During our regular Committee meeting, I asked our Parks Director, Monique Odom, Randall Lantz, Parks Horticulturist, and Butch Spyridon, CEO of our Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, to give us an update on the situation.  To ensure that we had enough room to fit everyone who wished to be part of the committee proceedings, I moved the committee meeting to the Council Chambers.  We all learned a lot and I have a better understanding of how to improve the overall coordination and transparency of our urban forestry and tree policies.  As I stated in the proceedings that you can watch here, I pledge to continue working towards that end.  Here is a fact sheet from Parks about the cherry trees.

The Davidson County Election Commission is hiring poll workers.  Please see below for more info.  Don’t forget that if you’re new to Davidson County or have moved, the link above will give you all the information you need to register or update your voter registration and provide a full calendar of this year’s important election.

Now Hiring Poll Workers in Davison County

Now Hiring Poll Workers in Davison County

I was happy to have had the opportunity visit WKRN News Channel 2 before the March 5th Council Meeting to discuss the agenda and the latest happenings at Council.  I enjoyed my time with anchors Nikki Burdine and Neil Orne.

News Channel

Speaking of happenings at Council, I was very happy to learn of Mayor Briley’s announcement that all Metro employees would be receiving their cost of living adjustments as well as step raises in his proposed budget.  That is a good start.  We’ve unfortunately been seeing plenty of strife happening with Metro Schools with Board Member Will Pinkston resigning and Director Shawn Joseph announcing he won’t be seeking a contract extension past 2020.  I’m very thankful for our District 4 School Board Member Anna Shepherd’s calm and confident leadership.  She has always been a presence of stability on our school board.  Ensuring we fully fund our schools is another essential aspect to the upcoming budget cycle and it will be vitally important we work closely with the school board and administration to pass a budget that reflects that Metro schools are indeed a top priority.  Metro employees, schools and public safety need to be made our top priorities in the upcoming budget.

Best,

jeff syracuse

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Planes, Trains and Other Events Plus Jeff’s Birthday Bash and Fish Fry Fundraiser

Dear Friends –

I’m coming up on another trip around the sun and I thought it’d be a good way to kick-off this campaign and have some fun as well.  I’m thankful to Barrett Hobbs and the Hobbs Family for hosting a Birthday Bash and Fish Fry Fundraiser at Scoreboard Bar & Restaurant on Wednesday, March 13th at 5pm.  Scoreboard is at 2408 Music Valley Drive just behind Cracker Barrel on Music Valley Drive.  Everyone is welcome.  Thank you in advance of the great support I’ve received already for my re-election campaign.  It’s an honor to serve this community and the 15th District.

Jeff Syracuse Campaign Kick Off at Scoreboard Bar & Restaurant

I’m very impressed with the new Metro Police Department Headquarters on Murfreesboro Pike.  I had the pleasure of attending the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.  It is a state of the art facility that includes the Family Justice Center, which will house components of the Metro Office of Family Safety as well as programs for Tennessee Department of Child Safety, Nashville Children’s Alliance, Victim Intervention, and Domestic Violence.  This new facility needs to be just one of the ways in which Metro needs to support our first responders.  I will continue to add my voice to the needed cost of living adjustments to all Metro employees and beyond that ensure we are paying wages that are competitive and indicative of the priority we need to set for public safety.

Metro Police Department Headquarters

Metro Police Department Headquarters

April is Transit Month and Transit Now Nashville will be offering another “Ticket to Ride” event riding the Music City Star from downtown to Donelson on Friday, April 5th.  We will then be walking over to Party Fowl to network and discuss the status of plans for the Music City Star, Donelson Station, as well as how transit needs to be addressed in the Opry area with the #34 bus line, especially with the announcement of the 130-acre development that Ryman is doing over the coming decade or so.  Stay tuned to their website and Facebook page for more information on getting tickets.

Transit Month in Nashville

A Toast to Tennessee Wine Festival will be served by the Music City Star on Saturday, April 27th.  Tickets are on sale now at this link.  Thanks to the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring this.

A Toast To Tennessee Wine Festival

The airport continues to grow at an extraordinary rate, which is indicative of course at how fast Middle TN as a whole is growing.  Even though we’re not even half-way through with the $1.2 billion expansion plan under the “BNA Vision” strategic plan, the airport is already engaged at looking at the next 20-30 years.  I’ve had the opportunity of attending a few meetings to learn about this process and it’s been quite fascinating.  There will be a community meeting on Tuesday, March 5th.  I encourage everyone to attend.  See flyer below for details.

BNA Master Plan

Stay tuned for more updates on this Master Plan process at their website.

 

Metro Water Services is offering its first ever Citizen’s Water Academy.  The Citizen’s Water Academy is an opportunity for MWS customers to learn about our most precious natural resource, water, and how MWS manages it from “river to river”.  The program includes tours of various MWS facilities, informative and interactive presentations, and the opportunity to interact with MWS staff and other water experts over four two-hour sessions.  Through the Academy, MWS hopes to provide a better understanding of our resource and our processes to build a diverse network of leaders and influencers who are willing to share their knowledge in the community and serve as ambassadors for water. Class size is limited and the selection process is competitive.  Please visit this link for more information and to fill out the application to apply.

The Spring 2019 dates and times are as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 9 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Tuesday, April 16 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Tuesday, April 23 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm
  • Tuesday, April 30 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm or Saturday, April 27 9:30am – 11:30pm (Group will decide)

Participants must have availability for all listed dates and times and must commit to attend all 4 sessions.

The application deadline is March 8, 2019. Applicants will be notified of acceptance no later than March 14, 2019.  If you have questions about the program or application process, please contact Sonia Allman at Sonia.allman@nashville.gov.

Best,

Jeff Syracuse - Metro Councilman  - District 15

 

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Looking ahead to 2019, My Re-Election Announcement and Much More

Dear Friends –

While two months of 2019 are almost already past us, this is my first newsletter of the year and I hope everyone had a good Holiday Season with family and friends. While I did have some real quality time to enjoy with my friends and family and especially my son Joey, I have kept a full schedule in the community over the past couple of months.  Some highlights are included in their respective sections below.

Probably the most major event that happened over the last couple of months since my last newsletter is that our new library was solidified and work has already begun at Donelson Plaza (check out their new website!).  Most of 2019’s activity will consist of infrastructure, road work and sidewalks.  Our new library construction won’t likely start until the end of this year or early next year, but the great news is that we’ve achieved a huge milestone and the new library and revitalized Donelson Plaza will breathe new life into the heart of our community.

Check out this news clip from 1963 when the land was purchased for our current library.  Thanks to our Nashville Library Director Kent Oliver for sending this to me.

Donelson Library News Clip

Hard to believe that it’s 2019 and that means its election year for Metro Council and Mayor.  With all of last year’s special elections (and even one going on currently in District 29 to replace CM Karen Johnson who was elected our Property Assessor) this year will be the final term of some talented community leaders who are great people and with whom I’ve enjoyed serving.  For other districts, like here in District 15, those of us who were new in 2015 are running for re-election.  This has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life and I have grown both professionally and personally.  I have worked hard to keep neighborhoods strong and represented, small businesses supported, encouraged and facilitated new businesses to invest here and much more.  Please visit my website to read about the legislation I have passed and things I’ve accomplished this term.  I am humbly asking for your support to continue serving District 15 for a second and final term.  There has been a lot I have been very fortunate to accomplish but there is more to do.  To support my reelection financially or to volunteer, please visit the Get Involved section of my website.  As always, my sincere and humble thanks for the support and privilege of representing a wonderful community.

Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15

As part of what I’d like to make progress on over the next term is greater public and private support for the Music City Star to increase ridership and number of trips.  The recent purchase of the Nashville & Eastern Rail Corporation by R.J. Corman Company was good news as they offer more resources and a broad experience in the rail business to help us achieve our goals.  As a Board Member of the Nashville & Eastern Rail Authority, we finalized approval of this purchase recently and are looking forward to working with the new ownership.  No changes or investments will happen immediately, but I’m hopeful that this new ownership brings new energy and focus to continue the NERR’s success.  As I explained in my last newsletter, we are capped at 12 trips per day during the week with the Music City Star until we can invest in Positive Train Control.  However, that cap does not include the weekends as long as they are privately sponsored trips.  With that in mind, I’ve worked with our Regional Transit Authority to create the below marketing flyer and we will begin to more proactively work with the Nashville Chamber, Convention & Visitors Corporation and other organizations to showcase this opportunity when large events and conventions continue to come to Nashville.Music City Star Event Sponsorship

 

Music City Star Event Sponsorship

The RTA Board of Directors has given approval for an extension of last year’s Vets for the Holidays program so that military veterans can ride RTA commuter bus services and the Music City Star commuter train for free.  The program, which ran from November 1 to December 31, 2018, was a first for the RTA.  It aimed to make public transportation services more accessible to military veterans, both as a gesture of appreciation and in recognition of the fact that access to transportation services is a critical resource for returning and disabled veterans as they connect to medical, employment, and support services while reintegrating to civilian life.  To qualify, participants need only show a valid form of military veteran identification to the RTA bus operator or Music City Star train conductor.  Forms of identification that will be accepted are:

  • DD Form 2 (Retired United States Uniformed Services Identification Card)
  • Tennessee Driver’s License or Identification Card with "Veteran" designation on front
  • VA Health Benefits Identification Card
  • DD214 form in lieu of a Veteran's identification card

For more information on the Vets for the Holidays program, contact RTA Customer Care at 615-862-5950 from 6:30am to 6:30pm on weekdays, 8am to 5pm on Saturdays and 10:30am to 2:30pm on Sundays, or visit www.rtarelaxandride.org.

The Donelson Pike / I-40 interchange project may very well begin within the year, pending final logistic preparations by TDOT and the Metro Nashville Airport Authority.  It’s a complex project that will ultimately bring a dynamic interchange that is safer, more efficient and accommodates the rapid growth at the airport.  Below is a graphic and more information about this project.

Donelson Pike Relocation

 

Donelson Pike Relocation

Here’s something I received late last year that I thought I’d share.  Metro Water Services was pretty busy during FY18 with maintenance service requests in the district.  Our Metro Water Department does a great job. They are working hard on addressing all the many issues throughout the county associated with the incredible amount of rain we’ve had lately. I’m turning them in to them as folks send issues to me. I strongly encourage everyone to use Hub Nashville so that you have a record of the request. It’s the most efficient way to request service from a Metro Department.

Metro Water Services SW FY18

Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation announced today that two bridges on the main paved Shelby Bottoms Greenway Trail are closed. The bridge located at the 1.75 to 2.0 mile marker will close on February 19 and reopen at noon, Friday, February 22. The bridge located at the 2.0 to 2.5 mile marker is closed indefinitely. Damage from recent heavy rains is the cause of needed repairs to both bridges. Users are advised to find alternate routes.

Shelby Bottoms Bridge Closings

You’ve no doubt seen or read a bit about our debt situation in the news.  That on top of hearing about our budget shortfall last year that led to us not being able to fund promised cost of living adjustments to Metro employees is certainly continued disconcerting news.  Below is a report from our Finance Director with a report on our audited fiscal 2018 year-end status.  While our bond rating and revenues continue to be very strong, I believe there is consensus that we can’t sustain the level of debt spending that we’ve done over the past decade.  The efforts to rebound from the recession and flood have obviously been successful and I’m thankful now that what Mayor Briley has said is that this next budget will focus on the basics and ensure we keep a strong foundation of funding public safety and education while taking care of our Metro employees.  We have made strong investments over the past decade and revenues show that, we just now need to pay our debts accordingly and manage sustainable growth.

Finance Director

 

Finance Director

Finance Director

Pursuant to BL2018-1184, a “Blue Ribbon Commission” was established to to identify government inefficiencies, practices, transfer payments, third party payments and subsidies with the targeted goal of achieving budgetary cost savings of $20 million in annual savings. The goals of the Commission should further include identification of potential savings — from both the operating and capital budgets — including one-time and on-going savings.  Residents can submit their suggestions for savings.  To learn more about this commission and to submit your suggestion, visit this link.

Metro Arts' robust grants program distributes just over $2.4 million annually for operational and project-based funding for arts activities taking place in Metro Nashville-Davidson County.  Non-profit organizations interested in applying can find the FY20 Grants Guidelines on the Metro Arts website. Applications must be submitted using our online grants management system, WebGrants.  New applicants are encouraged to register for an account in WebGrants as soon as possible. 

Important FY20 Grants application dates:

  • January 23, 2019: FY20 online application available in WebGrants
  • January 31, 2019: New applicant training video available on Metro Arts' YouTube channel
  • March 20, 2019 4:30pm: Operating support application deadline
  • March 27, 2019 4:30pm: Project support application deadline

Eligible property tax owners over 65 may qualify for the Tax Relief program (income less than $29,270) and the Tax Freeze program (income less than $41,780). Totally disabled and Disabled Veterans also may qualify.  Our Metro Trustee staff members will be on hand at Fifty Forward Donelson Station on February 19th from 10am-noon to answer questions and help you sign up.  See flyer below for details.

Tax Relief Handout

 

Best,

Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15

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August 2nd Election, FY 18/19 Budget Challenges, Donelson TOD and Library Update, Floodway Buffer Legislation and Much More

Dear Friends –

Well, I must start this newsletter with an apology.  I try hard to send out a newsletter every 4-6 weeks or so.  My last one was sent April 30th.  It’s been an extraordinarily busy 2018 with some big challenges in Metro Government.  I was very happy to see David Briley win the special Mayoral election with enough support that meant we did not need a run-off election, which would’ve cost the tax payers an additional $1 million.  Very frustrating that we even needed to spend the $1 million.  Now that the Mayoral special election is behind us, we now turn our attention to a special election for Vice Mayor, which thankfully is being included in the normal August 2nd election. 

In a consistent manor that I supported David Briley because of his strong institutional knowledge and much needed stability he brings to the Mayor’s Office, I’m also supporting Sheri Weiner for Vice Mayor, who is currently already in the seat because Council elected her as our President Pro Tempore last year, who is there to serve as Acting Vice Mayor in situations like the one we are in now.  As a new Council Member, Sheri was always there to support and encourage me as I learned the intricacies and operations of Metro government.  She is a strong leader who asks the tough questions, gets to the bottom of challenging issues and knows how to take decisive action.  Get to know Sheri and join me in supporting her.

I’m also supporting Bill Beck for re-election as our District 51 State Representative.  Bill is all about people over politics.  The main residential portion of our 15th District for Metro Nashville that is in Bill’s State House District is the west side of Pennington Bend Road.  The rest of the 15th District is in Darren Jernigan’s House District 60.  Darren doesn’t have an opponent and I believe that is a reflection of the fantastic job he is doing representing us.  Let’s keep both of these good public servants in office.

Early voting will start July 13 for the August 2nd Election Day.  Below is the voting schedule for August 2nd.

Early Voting Schedule for August 2 2018

One of the biggest (and most frustrating) challenge we’ve been facing is with the FY18/19 budget.  These should be the good years with revenues flowing as we grow faster than most cities in the U.S. and third in job growth.  So, why are we experiencing a revenue shortfall?  We have roughly a $34 million revenue shortfall.  $26 million of that is due to the fact that property values have gone through the roof as evidenced by the every four-year appraisal we just went through.  There were many successful challenges to the appraisals that were decided by the Board of Equalization and most of the budget revenue associated with the successful appeals were from large commercial properties.  About $8 million of the revenue shortfall is because of decreasing enrollment in our schools, therefore reduced State funding.  I cannot in good conscious vote for a property tax increase, although that was one of the budget proposals before us.  There are no easy answers.  I am equally frustrated that the budget I supported is not able to fund the promised Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to Metro employees.  It’s not right, but that hard decision that I chose to make was to not fix these budget challenges on the backs of Davidson County property owners.  Generally what happens after a regular property appraisal and the rate drops to make the process revenue neutral (per State law), the Mayor and Council will raise the rate up a bit to take into account appeals and additional city expenses associated with growth, schools, new infrastructure, etc.  That did not happen last year.  Perhaps it should have.  We certainly have work to do in improving our budget forecasting processes.  Our budget challenges will not go away.  We have a few challenging years ahead of us I believe.

The Donelson Transit Oriented Development District was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on June 28th. It is currently scheduled for third and final reading on July 17th, but it first has to go to the MDHA Board for approval of an amendment I put forth regarding the structure of the Design Review Committee that reviews development proposals. Currently, the DRC is managed by MDHA for the 12 current redevelopment districts downtown. My proposed amendment to the MDHA Plan would give our community a solid seat at the table with the DRC and make it function like any other Board or Commission with nomination by the Mayor and oversight by Council. I think this is fair and follows the spirit of the intent of the State authorizing legislation by State Rep Daren Jernigan and State Senator Steve Dickerson to make this more of a partnership between MDHA and the local community where the TOD is. They have written a letter to MDHA to that fact as well. I also have an amendment that differentiates non-owner and owner-occupied short term rentals. Non-owner short term rentals should appropriately be in the prohibited use. Owner-occupied would still be allowed. I’ve been taking the slow and steady approach to this legislation, especially because it’s the first of its kind. I believe that approach is paying off and tweaks and updates to it have improved it. If the MDHA Board approves my amendment, it may need to come back to Council for a public hearing, so I’m still figuring out what dates for future Council meetings that would be. I’ve been very patient with this and committed to getting it right. Additionally, as part of discussions, a MOU was signed between MDHA and Metro Planning to take time and further study the Design Review Process of all redevelopment districts in Nashville by hiring a consultant to review best practices across the U.S. Any further improvements to the process to help streamline red tape would then come back to Metro Council and the MDHA Board for approval.

Now that legislation for our new Donelson Branch Library has passed that detailed the purchase of a portion of Donelson Plaza where it will be constructed, the surrounding infrastructure and financing arrangement as part of the Plaza master plan with Holladay Properties, we’re ready to start the community engagement process to discuss the new library, its design, programming, etc.  I posted on Facebook to begin to solicit community members who are passionate about the library and want to be at the forefront of community engagement.  I received great response.  If you’re interested, please let me know.  There will community wide meetings towards the end of September.  Stay tuned for more info.

Over the past couple of years, increased interest in developing along the Cumberland River in the Pennington Bend area has resulted in variance requests at the Board of Zoning Appeals and Stormwater Committee to build larger.  Variances are required because there are two buffers next to the floodway – Zone 1 (50 feet from the floodway) and Zone 2 (75 feet from the floodway).  Zone 1 is designated as a “Do Not Disturb” area but the Metro Code allows variances to be decided by the Stormwater Committee.  In my opinion, this is a dangerous and irresponsible practice to try and secure a variance in an area that is directly next to the floodway and designated a “Do Not Disturb” zone.  As your Councilman, it’s my job to look at how our policies and laws impact our community 10-20 years out or more.  If we allow variances and rebuild to the level of density we had pre-May 2010 flood, we will be enabling the level of destruction we saw.  That flood also resulted in large amounts of shoreline to be destroyed, reducing the level of developable property.  This is an inherent risk of owning riverfront property.  Therefore, I have legislation that will make the 50-foot buffer permanent without option to receive a variance to build in the “No Disturb Zone”.  Here’s an article in the Tennessean about this.  Below is a map that illustrates the floodway, buffers and more.  You can access this information from Metro Property Maps.  Turn on the Stromwater filter and you’ll need to adjust the opacity to better see the buffers.

Cumberland River Floodway Map

Thanks to everyone who participated the Lebanon Pike Study, focusing on future growth and preservation along Lebanon Pike from Spence Lane to Briley Parkway.  As “Downtown Donelson” begins to grow, it’s very important for the transitional area between downtown and Donelson to be well planned and guide proper growth and development.  All information is at the link above.  It passed the Planning Commission on June 28th.

I’m pleased that we will finally be cutting the ribbon on the McGavock Pike Boat Ramp at the end of McGavock Pike where it intersects with Pennington Bend Road.  It will be on Saturday, July 28th at 10am.  Mayor Briley, Vice Mayor Weiner and other community leaders will join us to cut the ribbon and open the boat dock to the public to start using if to launch non-motorized boats on the Cumberland River.

Metro is putting together a Davidson County Long Term Solid Waste Master Plan and is looking for feedback.  Please review all information here and there are survey links on the website.  This is an important aspect of ensuring we manage our growth sustainably.

I have been gathering facts and discussing what we all recently learned about as it relates to emergency medical services operations at three Nashville Fire Department stations in Davidson County.  I have discussed this with Mayor Briley, Chief Will Swann, IAFF Nashville Local 140 President Mark Young and stopped by Station 28 to sit and listen to the perspective of those serving there as well.

First, I want to address one thing that started this and prompted the media to do a story.  This began because of one member from NFD Station 28 violating NFD social media policy by posting on Hip Donelson and venting from his personal Facebook page about NFD operational decisions.  His action was inappropriate.  I heard from a lot of my neighbors immediately after that post very confused and fearful.  I refuse to react emotionally or come to a quick judgment about any issue with which I don’t have all the facts and perspectives.  Here are the facts I’ve learned from NFD:

  1. 1. Our NFD is not phasing out personnel. They are reallocating the Advanced Life Support (ALS) personnel to the outlying parts of the county where there is a greater need for ALS appratus because of distance.
  1. 2. The program of putting Paramedics on engines was instituted years ago because there was not as many ambulances in service. It was 19 at the time and now we have 28 medic units. The increase of medic units decreases the need for ALS Engines in the urban area.
  1. 3. All fire companies have EMTs and Advanced EMTs. Every Nashville fire fighter is an EMT or Advanced EMT and they are capable of treating patients with quality care.
  1. 4. Engine 28’s ALS unit will not transition to a Basic Life Support (BLS) unit in the near future. They will reassign the firefighter-paramedics to remaining ALS Engines through attrition. No one is being phased out or let go during this process.
  1. 5. Response times will not be impacted by this transition because fire fighters will continue to respond to medical calls.
  1. 6. This was a decision made several months ago and was not a function of the current budget. This was a plan that would have been implemented regardless of the budget passed recently by Metro Council.

I appreciate the input and guidance from Mark Young, President of IAFF Local 140 on this issue.  I agree we never want to see any reduction of service at any station or negative impact to NFD personnel pay rates.  Operational decisions should never compromise the level of care we receive and I will continue to support our NFD leadership who are confident this is not happening.  I do empathize and have concerns about how this potentially impacts pay rates for certain NFD personnel and stability of being able to stay at the fire hall and community they love to serve.  Leading a large county-wide Fire Department is certainly not an easy task and hard decisions have to be made, especially with the growth we are experiencing.  That should also mean our budgets need to reflect a consistent top priority to public safety and I will continue to advocate strongly for that.

Nashville MTA is now WeGo Public Transit.  The new image is part of a process that started with the adoption of the nMotion plan in 2016, and included extensive interviews and focus group testing of current riders, prospective riders, residents, business, and community leaders in Nashville, all of whom are affected by the ever-growing mobility concerns in a rapidly growing city.  It is just one part of their continuing efforts to improve public transit in Nashville as laid out in the nMotion plan, which includes a number of service enhancements as well as improvements to the customer experience.  Here’s an image of a new bus.

We Go Transit in Nashville TN

Best,

Councilman Jeff Syracuse

 

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Our Donelson Library is Finally Moving Forward, an Update on the Donelson Transit Oriented Development District and a Day of Trewth to Honor Frank

Dear Friends –

It’s been a long time coming…  When I was first elected, I became aware that Donelson was at the top of the list as part of the strategic plan for our library system that identified the needs as far as facilities and services throughout the county.  Our Donelson Library was celebrating a bittersweet 50th Anniversary at the time, knowing that its 5,500 square feet built in 1965 had become insufficient for proper 21st century library services, which have grown far beyond just about being about books.  21st century libraries are community centers with modern technology and places to access multi-media elements such as music, movies and the internet.  As discussions began about a new library, so were discussions of how to implement our Urban Design Overlay, which envisioned a walkable, mixed-used, transit-oriented future.  It occurred to me that if we are to reimagine the heart of Donelson as a walkable town center, what the vision truly needed was a civic anchor at the heart of it.  Also during that time going back a couple years prior when I was President of the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce I began a focus of trying to find a new owner for Donelson Plaza.  Holladay Properties stepped up in a big way and embraced the vision for the heart of Donelson and also agreed to begin working with Metro towards the possibility of incorporating our new Donelson Library as part of their plans for the Plaza’s future, which is also an aging property that is a prime opportunity for bringing the vision of the community to fruition.  Since we don’t have a town square per say, centrally locating the new library was important as an anchor.  The former Castner Knott / Ace Hardware location of the Plaza seemed perfectly situated.  As these discussions continued, the JB Estille Road sidewalk project became an important aspect to implement as a boulevard-style pedestrian-friendly street that would ultimately connect the new Library with Donelson Station (which is another project that has been moving forward that will be discussed in more detail in the months ahead with community engagement as it takes shape).

My heartfelt thanks to Holladay Properties and the many Metro Offices and Departments (Mayor’s Office, Library, Finance, Legal, General Services, Water, Public Works, Planning, and Arts) that worked together towards creating a very special opportunity for Donelson to build us a new beautiful 25,000+ square foot library.  It was a complex project that took some time to engineer and cost out all the various infrastructure elements and including how to structure the financing arrangement.  As you know, we have been going through meetings regarding our potential Transit Oriented Development District.  One costly element of this project was the entire related infrastructure around the library to include a relocated Cliffdale Road connection, sidewalks, shared parking, storm water and other relocated upgraded NES, Piedmont Gas, AT&T and Comcast utilities.  One element of the TOD District is the availability of Tax Increment Financing, which allows a developer to invest more into the project in lieu of deferred property taxes that will be higher as a result of what the new development will generate.  The TIF financing availability is there to incentive infrastructure, economic development and affordable and workforce housing.  The expense of the infrastructure around library was a perfect first opportunity to utilize the TIF availability and rejuvenate the heart of Donelson.

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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.

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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.

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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 info@cavalia.net and provide them your address to verify your residence.  Please do not abuse this kind gesture.

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