I had a great meeting with a few Google Fiber execs to learn more about the status of the installation and much anticipated roll out of their service. They’ve completed the design of the network and as we’ve seen, have been busy building it. This is a big undertaking! Once complete, the network will include more than 3,200 miles of fiber, enough to stretch from here to Canada and back. They are working hard to make disruption in the neighborhoods to a minimum. They have a 24-7 Construction Inquiry Line at 877-454-6959 if you have any issues. With the underground infrastructure going well, there are a few logistical issues to work through as far as the above ground wiring, but they are making good progress. Sign up here to keep up to date with their progress and as soon as service is available, that’s how to get notified.
The success of the restoration, preservation and increased community awareness of The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion continues to receive much deserved recognition. Congratulations on receiving The Commissioner’s Award at the recent Metro Preservation Awards. The picture is Mayor Megan Barry presenting the award to Vice President Marilyn Swing and President Phil Howard.
Congratulations and welcome to Dr. Shawn Joseph, our new Metro Schools Director! Here is a letter from Dr. Joseph and School Board Chair Sharon Gentry:
We are excited to turn the page to a new chapter for Metro Nashville Public Schools. In hiring Dr. Shawn Joseph as our new Director of Schools last Friday, we committed ourselves to cast the shadow of our burden behind us, and re-commit ourselves to ensuring that every child, in every school, in every classroom is at the center of all of our decision-making.
A couple neighborhoods in Donelson have taken advantage of Metro Public Works Traffic Calming Program. My neighborhood, Donelson Hills, has been in discussions with them for many months. We finally will receive signage at our three entranceways and a few other elements to hopefully encourage those driving through the neighborhood to slow down. I’ve been hearing from many neighbors across Donelson in the months since election. Recently, I put a post out on Hip Donelson asking for input about traffic issues in neighborhoods. With about 200 responses, I compiled the information with the emails I’ve received. The major responses came from Lincoya Hills, Maplecrest and Woodberry Park and a few other specific streets where issues are consistent. I will be making an effort to work with the neighborhood leadership and the Traffic Calming program to see if we can help make our neighborhood streets safer.
Over the past nine months since taking office, I’ve been focused on setting a strategy to achieving the goals of my time in office – strengthening neighborhoods, improving community support of our schools, supporting non-profits and continued positive economic development. I’m proud to report that a substantial element in the Mayor’s budget proposal helps us address all of those areas – a new library for Donelson and is something I’ve been working on and advocating for, so I’m very happy to see this. Mayor Barry has proposed $6 million for the replacement of our Donelson branch, which was built in 1966 and is quite inefficient from an infrastructure perspective as well as size and layout to meet our needs. Our current library is about 6,000 square feet. A proposed new library could be about 20,000 square feet, so the current site is not very feasible for redevelopment. In addition, as we all know, it can be a difficult location to enter and exit. My vision is focused on renewal and investment around the Music City Star Donelson Station to create a walkable, mixed-use, transit-oriented town center for our community that offers more restaurants and retail options as well as green space. A new library would serve as a perfect community center in the heart of Donelson that would help anchor this renewal. I continue to work with the Mayor’s Office, our Metro Library Director Kent Oliver and Donelson Library Branch Manager Chris Morin on identifying a suitable location that can maximize this investment to help bring greater accessibility, use and expanded programming to better serve the current and future needs of our community. Should the budget pass with the library funding included (I’m confident it will), there will be community input in this process and I’ll need your help to get the word out when there is a meeting scheduled. It will probably happen in late Fall, so stay tuned. As always, I welcome your input any time leading up to a community meeting.
Metro has expanded the Blighted Properties Small Business Incentive Program. There are two programs – Fast Growing Business Employment Incentive and Property Investment Incentive. These apply to a small corner portion of District 15 south of I-40 along Murfreesboro Pike. If you are a business owner in this area or know someone who is, please contact me. See below for more information and eligibility. The link to apply is here.
Metro’s Planning Department has a great Parcel Viewer website as well as a Development Tracker website where you can view current ownership and zoning information and track developments as they move through the process. I have a few rezoning processes happening. They are:
- 1620 and 1634 Lebanon Pike – We’re changing their zoning from CL to CS-A, which allows the owner a bit more flexibility in use of the property. They don’t intend to redevelop. It will likely be an Enterprise Truck Rental business once the zoning approval is complete. No neighborhoods are impacted by this.
- 720, 724 and 728 Ermac Drive. This was already zoned to ORI some hears ago to permit a Candlewood Suites Hotel. This is request to revise the preliminary plan for the Planned Unit Development. It is scheduled to be heard at the Planning Commission on April 28th. This project has my support and is a good development adding to the hotel options in the Century City area.
- 2535 Perimeter Place. This already passed Planning Commission and is headed to Council. This is also a good development in the Century City area adding to the hotel options in the area.
McGavock Elementary will celebrate their 60th Anniversary on Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm. I’m honored to read a proclamation in honor of the event. All of the community is invited to help them celebrate this milestone birthday.
Vince Gill and Keith Urban’s annual All for the Hall benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Tuesday, April 12th featured McGavock High School students, who wrote with hit songwriters Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr. They performed their song “Limited Time Offer”. Read more about it and watch a video of them writing the song in an article here from The Tennessean.
The inaugural Donnie Whitworth Memorial C.A.N.S. (Challenged Adults Needing Support) Walk-Push-Run event will be September 24th at Two Rivers Park. A group project of a team in Leadership Donelson-Hermitage’s Class of 2016 is organizing a kick-off event on Wednesday, April 27th from 6-8pm at The Larry Keaton Theater with light hors d’oeuvres and wine. It’s a free event, so come out and hear what this walk is all about, share your favorite memories of Donnie and get excited about raising money that will benefit The Shelby Foundation, a Donelson-based non-profit organization dedicated to making the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities better.
The Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market kicks off the sixth season on Friday, May 6th! It promises to be another great season of healthy food, wonderful vendors, music and much more. It runs every Friday from May – October 4-7pm.
The Tennessee Songwriters Association International will host their 2016 Taste of TSAI Sidewalk Party on Saturday, April 23rd from 5-9pm. Live music, food, vendors, door prizes and more. See poster below for details.
Congratulations to The Donelson Gateway Project for securing assistance via a Metro Beautification grant for 45 trees that were planted on DGP sites, as well as other areas around Donelson. Visit DGP’s website here for a few pictures. There will also be a clean-up of all sites on Saturday, April 16th at 9am. Head to one of the main sites and pitch in to help keep Donelson looking great!
There are three sidewalk projects coming to the heart of Donelson. A community meeting was held last Fall about the project to connect Stanford Montessori to our Donelson Library. Two other projects that are coming will be on Lebanon Pike connecting Bluefields Avenue to Graylynn Drive and one on JB Estille Drive connecting Lebanon Pike and Old Lebanon Pike. Come learn more about these projects at a Community Meeting on Tuesday, April 26th at 6:30pm at Donelson Church of Christ in the chapel. Thank you DCoC for hosting us!
The Nashville Civic Design Center and Transit Now Nashville are hosting a Ticket To Ride event on the Music City Star on Wednesday, April 20th, riding from downtown to Donelson on the 5:45pm train. We will then walk up to Phat Bites for an event to promote transit and Downtown Donelson’s future. See flyer below for details.
This may be my longest newsletter yet! Lots of good things are in each section. Be sure to visit the Neighborhood News section about an important Community Meeting on sidewalks coming to the heart of Donelson and a lot more important information on great neighbors doing good things for Donelson.
McGavock High School graduate and MTSU student Robert Bagwell contacted me to ask if he could feature me in a personal profile video project. I was honored. It turned out really nice and of course my favorite part is how Joey is featured. Check it out here. Another personal profile that Robert did featured Donelson’s own former MNPD Chief Joe Casey. Check that out here.
Mayor Barry will deliver the State of Metro address on Friday, April 29th at 11:30am at the Ascend Amphitheater downtown. The administration has requested everyone RSVP here to get a count of those attending. McGavock High School Marching Band as well as other performances will occur as well. The Mayor presents her budget proposal to Metro Council after the address.
The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion and the Metro Historic Commission selected Encore Interpretive Design to manage the master planning process for the Two Rivers Mansion, 1802 House and 14-acre property. This is an exciting time for this historic crown jewel of Donelson. The community is invited to a kick-off of the process on Wednesday, February 24th at 5:30pm at Two Rivers Mansion. Come learn how you can be part of this process and what deliverables to expect.
The American Legion Post 88 has been working hard on a plan to beautify and enhance the War Memorial triangle site that has been there since 1970. Thanks to an architect team at Lose & Associates for helping put the vision to paper. We’ve now presented it to TDOT and are awaiting their assessment and approval, which I hope to receive so plantings could be done this Spring.
Three new restaurants are headed to the area.
1) Mission BBQ will be the first Tennessee location and is coming to Opry Mills. It should be open by this Spring.
2) Bojangles Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits is coming soon at 420 Donelson Pike.
3) Jimmy John’s is coming soon to 457 Donelson Pike in the renovated small retail strip.
The beautification and facelift of McGavock High School continues with new lettering on the building. The original McGavock High School lettering was taken down, sandblasted and repainted white. It was rehung above the North Entrance to help guide visitors towards that entrance along with new entranceway signage as well.
Congratulations to Bluefield’s neighbor Lara Tucker, who was appointed by Mayor Barry to the Housing Trust Fund Commission. Congrats as well to Natalie Corwin for being named one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 for 2016.
If searching for good seasonal or part-time work, Metro Parks is having a job fair on Saturday, February 20th at McCabe Golf Clubhouse. See flyer below for more information.
The Larry Keeton Theatre presents Sunset Blvd. Don't miss Andrew Lloyd Webber’s celebrated musical tells the tale of aging, famed silent movie star, Norma Desmond, eternally living in the past and waiting for her next starring role, when she crosses paths with a hapless screenwriter.
Starring the one and only, Ginger Newman!
Show runs February 18 - March 5, 2016
We have four new hotels in the works for District 15! Three of them all are zoned for it already – Music Valley Drive, Elm Hill / McGavock Pike and Ermac Drive in Century City. Another on Perimeter Place in Century City will have to go from IWD (Industrial) to a SP (Specific Plan). It’s currently an undeveloped piece of property near Piedmont Natural Gas’s headquarters. All four projects are positive developments and further highlight how important our district is as a “Hospitality Gateway” for Nashville.
Donelson has a new business that’s a School of Music – Rock Zone! Located at 2541 Park Drive, they offer an after-school program, private lessons and more. Check out their website here for more details and contact info.
The Metro School Board has restarted the search for a new Director of Schools. The Nashville Public Education Foundation has put together a survey for residents to provide feedback on the process. Click here to complete the survey.
In mid-December, EnviroScapes installed the landscaping at McGavock High School and it turned out great. It will look even better in the Spring when it blooms. Check out this video below that Channel 5 News did from their helicopter.
I’m hoping Metro Schools will have the funds in next fiscal year’s budget to continue the work of rehabbing the white horizontal stripes across the school. The “McGavock High School” lettering was recently taken down to be sandblasted and painted white and will be rehung above the North Entrance with new accent bars and new signage designating the two entrances. Finally, the concrete work will be redone this year to improve the walkways around the school that are crumbling.
With the cold weather here, our neighbors across Davidson County experiencing homelessness are the most vulnerable and need help. The Metro Homelessness Commission has an opportunity for volunteer opportunities. See the below flyer for details and contact information.
The new Star Wars movie was a fun part of the Holiday Season for many families. I certainly enjoyed taking Joey to see it and having an engaging and philosophical discussion about this very timeless story. It’s also an excellent analogy for how 2016 began – faster than light speed! January has flown by but it has been an incredibly productive month. I have been working very hard on a number of initiatives.
I want to begin this newsletter with acknowledgement specifically to our Music Valley / Pennington Bend neighbors and businesses, which have seen the 2015 Holiday Season traffic as the most challenging one yet. As the Middle Tennessee region continues to grow, we can only expect it to increase and we need to take proactive action on. Councilman Claiborne began the effort this past summer by bringing together many Metro and State departments and agencies, businesses and neighbors to meet and discuss the increasing challenges. Metro Public Works did hire a consultant to analyze traffic flow and propose possible solutions. While a couple of those proposals were implemented, we learned that we need increased resources and better coordination to successfully achieve improvement. My primary concern is public safety when our roads are gridlocked and emergency vehicles have a difficult time reaching our neighborhoods, hotels and other tourist destinations. I’ve engaged the Mayor’s Office and Metro Departments to begin early this year to assist in developing a plan that puts public safety first, improves traffic flow and helps ensure all our businesses can benefit from the positive economic impact from the tourist activity the area receives. I will keep everyone informed with any new developments with this effort.
There was a big turnout for the 32nd Annual Donelson-Hermitage Chamber Christmas Parade and I enjoyed being a judge along with School Board Member Anna Shepherd, Councilman Kevin Rhoten (District 14) and DH Chamber 2016 President-Elect Sharon Kipp. A very special moment in the parade is when the Music City Young Marines stopped at the Judge’s table and presented me with a U.S. Flag.