Jeff Syracuse

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Donelson Neighborhood News - February 2019

Gladys Arnold here in Donelson recently turned 102 and is the first recipient of a Centenarian Award given by newly created Davidson County chapter of The Century Club by Family Staffing Solutions.  Gladys is a beloved member of FiftyForward Donelson Station.  I was honored to present a proclamation to her from Mayor David Briley and celebrate her birthday with her.

Gladys Arnold - Centurian Award

 

Gladys Arnold - Centurian Award

I’m very happy to report that the Logue House at the corner of Lebanon Pike and Cottage Lane in Donelson Hills is receiving a Metro Historic Overlay that will protect it for generations to come.  I was also able to secure a Metro Historic Marker and Mayor Briley and members of the Historic Commission joined us for a wonderful event to celebrate.  Big hearted thanks goes to owner Gary Slattery who has been so supportive of protecting this property.

Historic Logue House

Historic Logue House

Our Hermitage Precinct is always looking for feedback from residents.  Below is a Community Policing Survey you can use to provide feedback.  Please send it to Sgt Jeff White at jeffrey.white@nashville.gov or drop it by the precinct.

Community Policing Survey

Mayor Briley has begun to attend neighborhood meetings to listen and get input from neighbors all across the county and recently he came to River Glen in the Pennington Bend area.  I can’t thank our Mayor enough for the time spent listening and especially this neighborhood that is still struggling with some post-May 2010 flood issues.  Our Mayor was genuine and very gracious in his desire to try and help.  After he left, the meeting went on and I was then shocked and very moved to be presented by Coleen Sakamoto, a member of their HOA board, with this handmade lei made from flowers flown in from Hawaii where she is originally from as a thank you for representing them and trying to help with their ongoing issues as well.  It’s extraordinary and I’ve never seen or smelled more beautiful flowers nor have I ever seen a true Hawaiian lei!  It was a really thoughtful gesture and I’ll treasure it always.

Neighborhood Meeting at River Glen with Mayor Briley

Mayor Briley also recently visited the Maplecrest Neighborhood Association and listened and addressed issues as well as laid out his vision for the future.

Neighbors in the Sunset View neighborhood and close by have been experiencing quite a bit of disturbance by a group of car enthusiasts who were using Two Rivers Park’s Wave Country parking lot that steadily escalated way beyond just parking and showing off their cars.  Donuts in the parking lot were loud and making the parking lot look awful.  Videos online showed extremely loud cars with flames out the tailpipes.  It is assumed this was also the staging ground for many motorcycles who have been racing on Briley Parkway.  Thanks to the efforts by Metro Parks Police and Hermitage Precinct, this behavior was stopped.  It’s not easy to catch these random pop-up events, so I worked with Metro Parks and they will be installing some additional elements to the parking lot to ensure there will be no after-hours access by groups like this.  See image below for details on improvements coming to the Wave County parking lot.  Through assistance by Metro PD, I also reached out to the leaders of this group and invited them to sit down and chat.  Most involved are teens or in their early twenty’s.  We met recently and we discussed the situation that while I don’t think they’re criminals, they can’t continue to operate this way if they want be a legitimate group, which they do indeed desire.  We discussed the proper process for requesting use of a Metro Parks property and what activities would be allowed and not allowed.  It seemed to be a productive time spent and my hope is that this year they will legitimatize their events.  That said, they will no longer be able to access Two Rivers Park for this any longer.

Wave Pool Parking Lot Upgrades

I submitted a recommendation for modifying the speed limit on McGavock Pike from Lebanon Pike north to the RR tracks from 40 mph to 35 mph.  It was approved and will be implemented soon.

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Donelson School News - February 2017

There are opportunities to make a direct impact on students that attend Metro schools right here in Donelson with specific needs.  There are a number of children in each of our schools that meet the criteria for being homeless and do not have adequate clothing and food needs.  Thanks to Grace Church of the Nazarene and Hip Donelson, you can donate towards helping support these students.  Donate towards the local school food pantries and clothing closets (school standard attire, socks, shoes, and underwear) by sending a tax-deductible donation but clicking here via the Grace Nazarene website or in person at the Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market starting again this May.  To donate items directly, they can be dropped off at Grace Church of the Nazarene at 2620 Pennington Bend Road, Nashville, TN 37214.

Two Rivers Middle School is also looking for reading tutors.  If you have 30-60 minutes to spare once a week to help a child read, then please contact Nicole Vaughn at Two Rivers Middle, 615-885-8931. They currently have 15+ children on a waiting list because they do not have enough tutors. 

To help you, below are Reading Clinic Training dates for this month.  The training is 90 minutes and it is helpful as you get to learn some cool reading games to play with the students.  Part of each reading tutoring session is listening to the child read for 15 minutes.  Next, you play a game with them for 5-7 minutes, then you listen to the child retell what they read (3-5min) and finally, the child writes for 3min.  Each training will be held at Carter Lawrence Elementary (1118 12th Ave South; the office of the Reading Clinics Director is there).  Please email Nicole Valentine at Nicole.Valentine@MNPS.org if you plan to attend a training and she will let the director know to reserve a spot.  The Two Rivers Middle Prep clinic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-3pm according to the 30-minute time slot that works best for you (each tutor is asked to carve out 45 minutes once a week).  The clinic will be open for nine more weeks (minus spring break and state testing week).

  • Friday, February 17th from 9:30am – 11am
  • Wednesday, February 22nd from 9:30am – 11am

Metro Nashville Public Schools is requested input on the next component of their strategic plan.  Last November, MNPS solicited input on their Mission, Vision and Core Values Statements.  Next is the Student & School Characteristics, drafted by Dr. Shawn Joseph, MNPS Director.  Click here to view the Strategic Plan Process and give your input.

In Mayor Karl Dean’s last fiscal budget, he allocated $1 million to put aside towards investment in a campus each for Madison and Donelson of Nashville State Community College.  It has been a big effort by local and state elected officials as well as a number of community leaders.  Thanks also to Mia Keller with CBRE who was selected as the Tennessee Board of Regents broker for finding these campus locations.  I’m very happy to say that effort has been successful and the Tennessee Board of Regents has purchased the former ITT Tech campus on Elm Hill Pike.  The campus is in excellent condition and NSCC will be able to set up and open quickly.  Two stories about this development are here and here

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Donelson Non-Profit New - February 2017

The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion presents the annual Two Hearts Antiques & Crafts Show.  There will be many vendors, coffee shop and an appraiser on site on Sunday, February 19.   See flyer below for details.  This is a great opportunity to visit the mansion and this event gets bigger every year!

Two Hearts Craft - Two Rivers Mansion

The Cumberland River Compact is hosting a couple of fascinating events in February and March about the voyages of the namesake of our side of town.  A reenactment and reflections of John Donelson’s journey to Nashville will be worthwhile time spent learning about the origins of Nashville.  Check them out here and here for more information and to RSVP.

Hip Donelson Lost & Found Pets is hosting a benefit at Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace on Saturday, March 11th.  As we all know, the leadership and volunteers with Hip D Lost & Found Pets do extraordinary work to advocate for our pets and help return them home when they are lost.  Please consider attending this fund event or making a tax-deductible donation at the link above.

Pints Paints Paws

Another success story of the influence Hip Donelson Lost & Found Pets has had on reuniting pets with their owners is the No Lost Pet Nashville program that Metro Animal Care & Control has implemented.  The program was developed by MACC to increase the chances of pets being returned to their owners.   They are implementing the program in phases beginning with Found Dog Yard Signs and Printable Found Pet Signs for both cats and dogs.  This will help reunite lost pets with their families, while improving live outcomes at the shelter.  Similar programs have proven to improve Return to Owner percentage by 2% in year one and by more than 4% in year two of the program.  This is just the beginning as the shelter is looking into the viability of using both Twitter and Interactive Maps to assist in reuniting pets with their families.

This is how it works: 
• MACC Officers will be equipped with yard signs in each of their vehicles. 
• Yard Signs and Printable Found Pets signs will be available at the intake desk when a stray is brought into the shelter and can be utilized by Community Lost and Found groups. If you are a Community Groups interested in sign pick-up please email macc.news@nashville.gov to schedule a pick-up time for signs. 
• Both signs contain an animal identification number, description of the animal and the date the pet was found. 
• Finders are asked to leave the sign up for a minimum of three days. 

Pictured below is Marylee Locey and Bethanie Conley of Hip D Lost & Found Pets, who work relentless on behalf of our four-legged kids.

Hip Donelson Lost & Found Pets

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Donelson Business News - February 2017

A very exciting development is the announcement of “SoundWaves”, a $90 million water park that will built as an extension of the Opryland Hotel Convention Center & Resort.  As you’ll read in the story, Ryman is seeking an incentive package that will cap property taxes after the 2017 reappraisal.  I am sponsoring the bill and do so with confidence and secure quantifiable data that shows the strong economic impact this project will bring to tax revenues.  The $90 million investment will show a strong return after the third year of operation and compared to other incentives that have been given downtown, I am comfortable that this is a warranted short-term freeze of property taxes of a project that will generate millions in economic impact and provide hundreds of new job opportunities.

Another exciting development in the Opry area is the Bavarian Bierhaus at Opry Mills.  The 650-person beer hall will offer classic German brewery options and the oompah bands singing their tunes, so get your lederhosen ready for a great new entertainment option at Opry Mills.  It is scheduled to open in April.

Yet another entertainment option coming to Opry Mills this Spring is a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.  This will be music-themed and be in the location of the former Barnes & Noble book store.  They are hosting a job fair soon.  See flyer below for details.

Madam Tussauds Job Fair

Thanks to those that supported the re-opening of Donelson Bowl on February 11th after the break-in and vandalism that occurred.  The community support was strong and they were back up and running in just a matter of days.  Thanks again for the community’s support of Nashville’s oldest bowling alley.

Donelson Bowl

Paper & Ink Arts had a great Grand Opening recently.  The renovation to the building at 113 Graylynn Drive is extraordinary.  I encourage you to go check it out.  Everyone at the Grand Opening was given this catalog of all their projects and a set of calligraphy pens.  I may just brush up on my calligraphy (I used to do it as a kid) and start signing all my bills and resolutions with these pens!

Paper Inks Arts

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Donelson Neighborhood News - February 2017

The Metro Historic Zoning Commission Foundation will host their 5th Annual Old House Fair on Saturday, March 4 from 9am – 3pm at Sevier Park Community Center, 3021 Lealand Avenue.  The Old House Fair is a daylong festival that introduces property owners to new ideas, practical advice, innovative materials and quality services through exhibitors and presentations.

2017 Old House Fair 

Thanks to the efforts of River Glen neighbor Kerra Bennett, we are putting together a volunteer litter clean-up of Pennington Bend Road on Sunday, February 26 from 1-3pm.  In conjunction with our 15th District Beatification Commissioner, Naomi Regensburg, Public Works and MNPD, we will have brightly colored vests, signage, gloves, bags and signage along PB Road to help ensure safety.  Sergeant Jeff White from the Hermitage Precinct will be there as well to help with safety.  As the saying goes, "many hands make light work".  We would love volunteers to help out!  Thanks again to Kerra for getting this going.  We will meet at Grace Nazarene on at 1pm on Sunday, Feb 26.

Abbington Park neighbors have been experiencing multiple issues with the undeveloped land where the third phase of their neighborhood is to be built.  This plans were approved a number of years ago so I can’t stop them from happening.  The issues and latest update is as follows:

  1. Dump trucks were going too fast through the neighborhood and on Pennington Bend Road.  Thanks to MNPD, they reacted quickly and have been on top of this.  The owner has a grading permit.
  2. The developer has a grading permit.  However, Metro Stormwater investigated the site at my request and found violations of that permit that included dumping in areas not allowed and not performing an equal amount of cut for the amount of fill that is being brought in.  Since this is in floodplain, the developer must ensure they are only rising up the areas allowed and they must ensure an equal amount of material is removed to retain an equal amount of flood water storage.  They levied a fine against the developer and put a stop order on the work.  They are requiring a mitigation plan that is due by May 3.  I had a meeting with Stormwater with many questions about the development, timing of the mitigation plan and how we can ensure they perform the grading work in a reasonable amount of time so neighbors do not have to endure dump trucks in their neighborhood consistently.  I have asked if another entrance could be established for the work that is not through the neighborhood.  I have also asked if Metro Stormwater needs additional legislatively authorized tools to have a greater control over these aspects of the development.  I will stay on this.
  3. Hunters are using the undeveloped land.  It is legal in Davidson County, but it has to be in hunting season.  Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency

Below are the site plans for the next phase of Abbington Park.

Abbington Park Concept Plan Site Layout

Abbington Park Concept Plan Site Layout

I had a great time at Donelson Heights United Methodist with Troop 700, discussing my role as a Council Member and the vision for where our community is headed.  They have a great group of kids, parents and leadership.  My son, Joey, is on track to earn his Eagle this year, so I know firsthand how important Scouts is and the positive impact it has on families.

Scout Troop 700 at Donelson Heights United Methodist

Scout Troop 700 at Donelson Heights United Methodist

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Donelson Station is Ready for Development and a New Nashville State Community College Campus is Coming Soon

Dear Friends –

Over the past several months, Metro Planning, Public Works, MTA/RTA and I have been working on duplicating an effort already underway around the Music City Star’s Mt. Juliet Station where a developer is partnering with RTA on creating a Transit Oriented Development around the station on RTA land.  We have created a Davidson County version of this RFP (Request For Proposal) and it is now available for developers to review and submit proposals.  The link can be found here.  There is a story about it from The Tennessean here.  This is potential game changer that complements what Holladay Properties is formulating a vision of on the other side of Lebanon Pike at Donelson Plaza.  As these developments continue to take shape, I will keep everyone updated via subsequent newsletters.  It’s exciting times as we move ahead in realizing the vision for Downtown Donelson!

Lack of consistent and timely trash pick-up issues continue, but they are improving.  Red River Waste Solutions is the company that has the contract with Metro.  Metro put them on notice of violating the contract and they must act to resolve the issues they are experiencing quickly or they could lose their contract.  They have come to every Public Works Committee meeting and provided updates.  The company went through major management and personnel changes and now has a new management team working hard to fix their internal issues.  I have established direct communications with their team, so please do not hesitate to email me if there is an issue.  I will get on it immediately.

Charlie Cardwell, Metro Trustee, will be at FiftyForward Donelson Station on February 22 at 9:45am to discuss the Tax Freeze Act, which permits Metro to freeze the property taxes for homeowners 65 or older at the amount of the year they qualify.  Call 615-883-8375 to RSVP and then also stop by before for breakfast or stay after for lunch at Donelson Café in The Larry Keeton Theater.

The update to the Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways is available and Public Works is asking for your comments.  Please review and you’ll note that Donelson is identified with a number of sidewalk and bikeway projects.  Thanks for your input!  Below is a great one-sheet that shows where we are headed strategically for sidewalk implementation.

Sidewalk Project Delivery Process

Metro Parks is ready to release a draft of the Metro Parks and Greenways Master Plan.  It was presented by Mayor Barry and Parks staff recently at the Nashville Downtown Library.  The plan will also be on display at the Hermitage Community Center (and other community centers throughout the county) from February 13 – 26.  Please plan on making your voice heard and give input to this plan.

Metro Parks is hiring Lifeguards for this coming summer.  See flyer below for details.

Metro Parks Looking for Lifeguards

Mayor Barry is challenging restaurants to reduce food waste, set a food-waste reduction target and work to reduce food waste over a three-month time frame.  By participating in the Mayor’s Food Saver Challenge, restaurants will reduce the amount of food sent to Middle Tennessee landfills, while helping to relieve hunger by donating wholesome, edible food to local nonprofits serving over 110,000 food-insecure residents in Davidson County.

Metro Water Services has a new map that shows all currently active water main breaks and the current status.  This is a valuable resource.  Access the website and map here.

Check out Nashville Public Libraries new Music Library!  NPL BoomBox highlights local musicians from a variety of genres to help us discover new music.  Enjoy!

I’m very proud of my next Hearts of the People blog.  Laura Carrillo is a very special member of our community and has focused her passions professionally and personally on behalf of Two Rivers Mansion, a great deal of her efforts are behind the scenes and deserves our community’s deepest thanks and appreciation.

Best, 

Jeff Syracuse

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Laura Carrillo

Laura Carrillo

Laura Carrillo has a very unique and special connection to Donelson.  Her family has helped care for Donelson’s crown jewel historic site – Two Rivers Mansion, for over 50 years and her dedication has helped make the Two Rivers Mansion, the 1802 House and 14-acre property the success it is today.  Laura’s grandfather, Z.L. Milton, purchased a lot on Pennington Bend Road in 1959 to build a retirement home after working for years at Nashville Street Car and Rail.  Laura’s parents married and moved into the home with Laura’s grandparents.  After acquiring a few more contiguous properties, the family still lives there after four generations.

Laura recalls, “My grandfather started me on this journey when I was 5 years old. Mary Louise Bransford McGavock passed away in November of 1965. In January of 1966 her estate auction was held in a downtown Nashville warehouse with 8 inches of snow on the ground. All of the contents from inside the Mansion were sold and the remaining 445 acres were bought by the new Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County. After the sale took place someone broke in the Mansion stealing carpets, drapes all the chandeliers and back banister. Metro Police quickly recovered the stolen items. Now some security had to be put in place to protect the Mansion. My Grandfather got word that they were looking for someone to move into the Mansion and care for it.  Not that my Grandparents wanted to live in a Mansion, but there was 445 acres to raise Black Angus cattle on. They moved from Pennington Bend to the McGavock Mansion (as it was known back then) in the winter of 1967 and stayed until 1972.  So many fond memories with Grandparents and family were spent there. I wanted them to stay forever.”

Laura is able to combine a close personal connection to the Mansion and its history and a professional one as she has worked for Metro Parks for over 25 years.  She further recalls, “Growing up down the street, attending both Two Rivers Middle and McGavock High, I would see the Mansion almost every day.  A friend was getting married back in 1990 and I tagged along on the site visit.  I just wanted to see the inside again and walk down memory lane for a moment.  By accident I heard of a job opening there and the company I was working for was going out of business.  I applied for the job and two weeks later they handed me the keys to the Donelson Castle!!  Another journey had started and the plan was just to be there for a short time, which was 25 year ago this past March. “

Laura says she was born in the wrong century.  As a lover of antiques, especially from the mid to late 1880’s, it’s a passion that she shares with husband, Joe.   When they were dating, they’d spend all day in small towns going through all the antique shops and flea markets.  Laura’s Mother-in-law had been an antique dealer and owned a shop.  Laura and Joe plan their vacations around antiquing and touring historical homes.  They even have his and hers antique booths to see who does better each month.  They’ve both brought that passion to the Two Rivers Mansion with the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion’s “Two Hearts Antiques & Crafts Show, which this year will be Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18 from 10am-4pm and Sunday, February 19 from 12pm – 4pm.  The Mansion is full of vendors both downstairs and upstairs, so it’s a great opportunity to see the mansion as well.  Members are free.  $5/adults and $2/kids.  There’s a Coffee Shoppe as well. 

As to the future of the Mansion, the future is bright.  One of the latest successes of the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion is completing the process to research and design a Two Rivers Master Plan, which was recently finalized was presented to the Metro Parks Board on January 3, 2017.  It will help guide the preservation and advancement of the property.  One exciting element is the recommendation to rebuild the carriage house that would become an event center.   The building would be designed to hold 200 – 300 people and could be used for all types of events.   The inside of the Mansion and 1802 house would become house museums.  Tours are only available now on a limited basis, but hopefully more will be available in the future.  Laura’s personal and professional passions are on full display as she greets guests in her 1850’s costume and shares the whole McGavock story.

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Donelson Non-Profit News - January 2017

Markey Blue returns to The Larry Keeton Theater on Saturday, January 21st as part of the Larry Keeton Live series.  They have sold out in the past pretty quickly, so be sure to buy tickets here in advance.  Lots of great shows coming up in 2017, so be sure to check out their website and make plans to enjoy a great performance!

Markey Blue Janury 21 - The Larry Keeton Theatre

I was honored to be asked to serve as a dog walker at the 7th Annual Dinner With Your Dog fundraiser for the Nashville Humane Association on Saturday, January 21st at the Hutton Hotel.  This year’s dinner is hosted by Tanya Tucker and chaired by Marcia Masulla.  As part of my involvement, I’m challenged to raise $777.  I’m almost 70% of the way there thanks so far to those listed on my CrowdRise fundraising page.  It’s a tax-deductible donation.  Any help is appreciated to reach the goal of $777!

Thanks to Metro Public Works for moving the signs below honoring our McGavock Band and Donelson Christian Academy Wildcats football team.  It was moved just across from Donelson Hills Drive on Lebanon Pike.  Now it can be more visible and properly displayed as part of our landscape design of The Donelson Gateway Projects site at Briley Parkway / Lebanon Pike.

DGP sign relocated to Donelson Gateway

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Donelson Business News - January 2017

I am thrilled that Fort Knox Studios has chosen the 15th District to locate their second location for a 180,000 square foot space on Massman Drive..  Fort Knox currently has a very successful location in Chicago and they are already starting to receive interest from notable artists and music industry veterans.  Check out their FKS Nashville website that has a marketing brochure.  Read the article about this development in The Tennessean here.

Congratulations to Cary Street on becoming the next Executive Director of the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce.  I’ve known Cary for several years and know she’ll bring great creative energy and experience from government to non-profits to this role and make us all proud.

Cary Street - Donelson Hermitage - Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

I was also quite honored to receive the DH Chamber’s 2016 Community Service Award at the December year-end breakfast.  Thanks to 2016 President Sharon Kipp for presenting it to me.  It sits proudly on my desk at work next to the 2014 Anna Wiggs Memorial Award I received two years ago.  I am very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to work with the Chamber on making a difference in the community.  The Chamber has great opportunities ahead in 2017 and beyond.

DH Chamber 2016 Community Service Award

Congratulations to Paper & Ink Arts on their upcoming Grand Opening on Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 10am to 3pm.  They did a wonderful job rehabbing their new home at 113 Graylynn Drive.  Be sure to stop in and check them out.  Additional parking is available across the street at Holy Rosary.

Paper Ink Arts Grand Opening

Last June, Nashville received a rare opportunity for areas of Davidson County to be designated as "Promise Zones" by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  This program specifies six areas of the county to receive technical assistance and federal investment. One of those areas (Subzone 3) has a portion of the 37210 area of the 15th District. Read more about the Promise Zones here.  To that end, there is an opportunity with AmeriCorps for a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project in collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency​. See the documents below for more information and how to apply.

AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities

AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities

AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities

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Donelson Neighborhood News - January 2017

The Neighborhoods Resource Center and Nashville Neighborhood Alliance are attempting to determine the number of active neighborhood organizations (associations, watches, HOAs, and resident and/or condo associations that are active in Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.)

Their goals are to (1) improve databases so that they can more effectively communicate with neighborhood organizations; (2) create an online directory of neighborhood organizations for access by the public (including other neighborhood leaders); (3) determine the organizational types and the level of participation in neighborhood organizations; and, (4) gain a sense of the organizational and neighborhood issues facing these organizations.

Your participation will help the NRC and NNA better serve neighborhoods across Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.  Take the 2017 census here: NRC 2017 Neighborhood Census

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Important Community Meetings Coming Up and Many More Updates to Kick Off 2017

Happy New Year, Everyone –

I hope your Holiday Season was enjoyable and restful.

The required, every four-year Property Reassessment is coming this year and each Council Member had the opportunity to meet with Property Assessor Vivian Wilhoite and members of her staff regarding the work they have done and the reassessment process coming up this year.  They have also offered an opportunity for communities across Davidson County to have informational community meetings to help answer questions.  Councilman Steve Glover organized a meeting on Thursday, January 12th at 6:30pm at the Hermitage Precinct for a presentation from the Property Assessors Office regarding the process throughout the Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory area.  (Councilman Glover also has a community meeting at 6pm prior to this about a development happening in his district.)  As we know, Nashville is booming and property values are much higher than they were four years ago, so make every effort to attend this meeting and stay informed about the 2017 Property Reassessment.

Property Reassessment Meeting

Congratulations to 15th District neighbor and owner of Cumberland Hospitality Group, Barrett Hobbs, on his appointment by Mayor Barry to the Metro Historic Commission.

Barrett Hobbs - Mayor Barry - Jeff Syracuse

The 15th District has unfortunately been experiencing some trash pick-up issues over the past several months.  Not the whole district has been affected, but random streets have been missed (me included) and collection times have been inconsistent.  The collection before New Year’s was by far the worst experience the district experienced.  I serve as Vice Chair of the Council’s Public Works Committee and so I have brought this issue up and asked to see 1) Red River Waste Solution’s contract with Metro so I can review it, and 2) Receive documentation associated with the procurement of the contract.  I will be reviewing this and have also learned the Mayor’s administration and Public Works leadership has taken a more active role in ensuring they do not violate the contract any further.   I also had a friendly, but frank conversation with President and COO Weldon Smith and members of their staff came to the Public Works Committee to hear from us.  They have had some long-term key staff members leave the company and are rebuilding their team so we can return to safe, consistent, timely and efficient trash pick-up.

Short Term Rental Properties (STRP’s) is a hotly debated issue right now.  After a judge found the STRP legislation vague and ruled against them, it was back to the drawing board.  Legislation was filed (BL2016-492) to regulate them, but some feel it does not go far enough.  There are basically two type of STRP’s – owner-occupied and non-owner occupied.  Non-owner occupied STRP’s are owned sometimes by an owner from out of the country with a local management firm managing the rental.  These types of scenarios have too often including here in Donelson, most notably the development along Miami Ave of homes specifically for STRP use.  There have been instances where the home is rented out specifically to host large parties that are incredibly disruptive to what is usually a quiet neighborhood street.  The Nashville Neighborhood Alliance has proposed an amendment to phase out STRP’s in R and RS zoning (single family residential).  While I do understand the argument to not let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch, the situation has actually amounted to some negative impact to the character of residential neighborhoods.  Some argue they pretty much serve as mini-hotels in the middle of neighborhoods.  I am an advocate for our protecting neighborhoods, so I’m poised to support this amendment that will phase out non-owner occupied STRP’s specific to R and RS zoning over the next two years.

The update to Nashville’s Strategic Plan for Sidewalk and Bikeways (called Nashville WalknBike) is wrapping up and a draft will be presented on January 9th the public.  Visit their website for a list of Community Meetings where team members from Public Works will present the draft plan, answer questions and take feedback.  One of those meetings will be here in Donelson at Stanford Montessori School at 2417 Maplecrest Drive on Tuesday, January 10th at 7pm.  I know this is a big issue for many of us in Donelson, so please plan to attend and be involved.

Metro Animal Care and Control will begin offering three-year rabies vaccine and three-year license at monthly low-cost rabies vaccination clinics starting on the third Saturday of the month in February (February 18, 2017) and go through November.  Metro Animal Care and Control is located at 5125 Harding Place, Nashville, TN 37211.

With cold days ahead, it’s important to remember those that are homeless and need a shelter in times of cold weather.  As you may have read in The Tennessean, Nashville’s homeless rate spiked 9.8% from 2015 to 2016.  Before our December 20th Council Meeting, Open Table Nashville and the Mayor’s Office gave Council Members an update on current efforts and challenges this winter.  To that end, it’s good to be knowledgeable about Nashville’s Cold Weather Response Plan, which is a collaborative effort across non-profit organizations and government.  There is a How You Can Help section on their website.

Cold Weather Community Response Plan

Metro Public Works has completed the signal timing optimization project.  Read about it here in the Nashville Business Journal.  I know there are a few signals in particular for folks that don’t change fast enough.  Hopefully this will help.

The 15th District has been very fortunate to receive four funded projects via Metro Arts Commission THRIVE Program over the past couple of years.  Here’s a highlight:

FY17

  • Artist Elizabeth Davidson was awarded $3,000 to activate community with her production of a one woman play based on the life of the indomitable American author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and her writing of her most famous novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin". 
  • Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) was awarded $3,000 to engage 4 community based organizations (3 labor unions and 1 university) with vested interest in workers’ rights in their original multimedia educational show A Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement.
  • Playwright Carolyn German was awarded $4,000 to work with McKendree Village, Donelson Public Library, and FiftyForward Donelson Station to coordinate opportunities for seniors to come and share their stories.
  • Mural and graffiti artists J. Dante Bard and Troy Duff were awarded $4,000 each to activate two different sites at the pedestrian tunnel of the Two Rivers Parkway Greenway.

FY16

The $40 million Metro Water Services Cumberland Low Water Project along Elm Hill Pike, Donelson Pike and Lebanon Pike will be underway soon.  You may have seen the large signs such as the one below.  There is a 24/7 Project Hot Line – 615-953-2899 for up to date information as well as the website link above.

Metro Water Services Project Sign

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jeff-syracuse

 

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Phil Dillon

Phil Dillon

When I first met Phil Dillon, I sat in row of bleachers with other parents as I watched him do an amazing job as a dynamic tennis coach to my son and other kids.  I was pretty sure he wasn’t a Nashville native and he sounded like he may even be from up-state New York like me.  Sure enough, upon meeting Phil, not only was he from up-state New York, but from Buffalo where I was born and I also learned he was a very successful producer, engineer, singer, songwriter and musician.  Suffice to say, we hit it off with much in common.

Phil heard Frank Sinatra sing “All The Way” on the radio in 1960 at his grandparent’s house as a kid and was hooked.  He sang in both church and school and by the 5th grade started to play drums, playing along with Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich records.  After playing bass drum and snare in grammar school, Phil started playing guitar and wrote his first song at 11.  After building a long career as a musician in Buffalo, Phil started visiting Nashville and realized that Music City was the place to be to keep his career moving forward.  One of Nashville’s “A Team” keyboard players, Steve Nathan, told Phil, “If you want to hunt tigers, you have to go to where the tigers are.”  Phil had successful friends like Steve, Harry Stinson and Stuart Ziff who were there to help him integrate into the Nashville scene.

Finally moving to Nashville in the fall of 1994, Phil hit the ground running and immediately started working with Stuart Ziff, Billy Henderson, Carson Whitsett, Kim Parent, Tim Loftin, Barry Walsh, Tommy Spurlock, Mike Rojas, Gary Morse, Bob Britt, Maxwell Schauf and many more great Nashville musicians and songwriters.  In 1999, Phil started working with Jimmy Nalls, co-producing records for Rick Moore & The Mr. Lucky Band.  They worked on Jimmy’s critically acclaimed “Ain’t No Stranger” album.  In 2000, Phil was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

Phil has worked on other great projects over the years, including Michael McGrew’s “I’d Like to Be the Man” (co-produced with Harry Stinson), “The Amazing World of Doc Butt,”, a 16-piece big band endeavor produced by Bob Moore, featuring “Ranger Doug”, Boots Randolph, Bill Pursell, Kenny Malone and many others. 

Phil began playing with T Graham Brown in 2003, spending the next six years playing acoustic guitar and singing background vocals at venues like Bluebird Café, Wildhorse Saloon, The Trapp, on GAC Classic and over thirty appearances on The Grand Ole Opry.  He went on to record and co-produce T Graham Brown’s “The Present” album with T and Mike Caputy.  In 2007, Phil met Jim Tract and recorded and mixed all the projects on Adroit Records.  Most recently, Phil has produced and recorded Bill Edwards’ “Here Lately” album and David Nipper’s self-titled EP.

In addition to his incredible list of musical accomplishments and collaborations, Phil also has built an impressive career as a PTR Certified Tennis Teaching Pro for the last 31-years.  He’s held several positions as Head Pro at Country Clubs and with the YMCA.  Phil currently serves as the Head Professional at Langford Farms Club in Old Hickory.  Phil and his wife Jane have two grown boys, Andrew and Chris, and are a great family Donelson is lucky to have as neighbors.

Check out Phil’s website about his studio and publishing company, Nickel City Music.

  • Someday/Together We'll Grow Old (Written by James Ralston, Phil Dillon)
  • Mister Please Understand (Written by Phil Dillon)
  • Don't You Think You've Had Enough (Written by Phil Dillon)
  • How It Feels (Written by Phil Dillon)
  • Now That We're Not a Family (Written by Phil Dillon)
  • Hey Brother (Written by Phil Dillon & Bill Edwards)
  • I Sleep With One Eye Open (Written by Phil Dillon & Bill Edwards)
  • Walkaway Joe (Written Vince Melamed & Greg Barnhill)
  • Through The Eyes of a Child (Written by Phil Dillon, Stuart Ziff, Kim Parent)
  • Never Be The Same (Bill Edwards)
  • Drive (David Nipper)
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Donelson Non-Profit News November 2016

I was honored to attend Mass at the Cathedral of the Incarnation and present a Proclamation to recognize the 150th Anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy.  Pennington Bend is home to one of their Retreat Centers.  Joining me was US Congressman Jim Cooper, a representative from Lamar Alexander’s Office, State Senator Jeff Yarbro, State Senator John Ray Clemons.  Pat Nolan moderated the event.

Sisters Of Mercy 150 Years Proclamation

Congratulations to one of Donelson’s newest non-profit organizations, GROW Enrichment, for securing an agreement with Metro Parks to utilize land near Two Rivers Park, Two Rivers Mansion and the Two Rivers Dog Park for their educational offerings.  They offer great classes.  This is an exciting opportunity for them and I encourage everyone to support them!

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Donelson School News November 2016

I was honored to be asked by Lipscomb Academy teacher Mark Pugh (also a Donelson neighbor) to speak to the students in the IGNITE program.  On Election Day morning, I presented some history of Metro Government, NashvillleNext and how Donelson plays an important role regionally in the plan for our feature.

lipscomb-academy-with-jeff-syracuse

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Donelson Neighborhood News November 2016

The 29th Annual Ann Chapman Holiday Lights Contest is here!  Neighbors of the 15th District have been strong contenders in year’s past.  See flyers below for details and visit the link above to register.

Holiday Lights Contest Flyer

Holiday Lights Contest Info

The first sidewalk project in the heart of Donelson has moved closer to becoming a reality with easements being requested from property owners for construction.  You can view this legislation as well as any other pending development in Davidson County on the Metro Planning Development Tracker website.

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Opry / Music Valley Traffic Flow Improvement Plan, 29th Holiday Lights Competition and 32nd Annual DH Chamber Christmas Parade

Thanks goes to our Metro Nashville Police Department and Metro Public Works Department for their hard work in working with business all throughout the area.  The below communication describes the traffic flow improvement plan for the Opry / Music Valley area.  While no plan will be perfect, there are more resources this year and MNPD is dedicated to managing these resources as effectively and efficiently as possible for both our neighborhoods and visitors to the area.

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Donelson Business News October 2016

Sitar Indian Restaurant is coming to Donelson at the shopping center at 457 Donelson Pike.  Thanks to Ken Powers and Will Tyner with Commercial Realty Services for investing in this piece of property in Donelson and bringing great new restaurant and retail options.  Their next purchase was the CVS, Baskin Robbins and Pizza Hut parcels at the McGavock Pike and Lebanon Pike intersection.  Thanks to Mia Keller with CBRE for representing the seller in that transaction.  Read about these exciting developments in this article from The Tennessean.

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Donelson Non-Profit News October 2016

Think 2 Change is coming to McGavock High School on Thursday, October 27th.  Brian Earley, Donelson neighbor, founded this non-profit organization to help kids deal with bullying, abuse and suicide.  The event is open to the public.  See flyer below for details.

Think 2 Change

The Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market is extending the market season to the winter’s months via a twice-monthly online ordering system.  Visit the website here and sign up for more information and how to participate.

The Larry Keeton Live Music Series continues this coming month with the Lynn Beal Big Band on November 12th!  Lynn and band put on a great show.  See flyer below for details. 

LKL Music Series November 16-17

I had the pleasure of visiting with Nashville’s Amateur Radio Club, which meets at Lock Two Park.  Their meetings are the third Thursday of each month and are open to anyone interested in amateur radio.  They provide opportunities for Scout Troops, schools and other community groups to learn about amateur radio, the services they provide especially in emergency situations.  The club has been in existence since 1934.

Amateur Radio Club

Halloween at the Mansion

 

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Donelson School News October 2016

I had a great morning joining volunteers joining Hands On Nashville in their 25th “Hands On Nashville Day” supporting schools throughout Davidson County.  Pennington Elementary received strong support in a day of doing work inside and outside the school, which is going through construction as part of their needed additions and renovations.

Penning Bend Elementary

Pennington Bend Elementary

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Music Makes Us Advisory Council and I thank Mayor Barry again for the appointment and opportunity to serve.  Check out this great new public service announcement here about Music Makes Us and how the initiative is supporting a wide variety of music education opportunities through all of Metro Nashville’s schools.  There is a great Online Hub listing resources and programs to help teachers enhance teaching and learning opportunities.

McGavock High School received revamped and relocated main signage as well as new directional signage on the Two Rivers Park side of the building to match the work that was done as part of the facelift and landscaping installed earlier this year.  Thanks to Metro Nashville Public Schools for continuing these improvements!

McGavock High School

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Donelson Neighborhood News October 2016

Vice Mayor Briley called a special hearing on gun violence before the October 18th Council Meeting.  Presentations from Metro Health Department Dr. Bill Paul and MNPD Chief Steve Anderson were very informative and provided suggestions for how to curb this violence by getting more involved in providing opportunities and mentoring for youth.  Chief Anderson provided heat maps of Davidson County showing where incidents have occurred over the last few years.  Watch the hearing by visiting the Metro Council page here and click on the Committee Meeting YouTube Channel link.

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