Jeff Syracuse

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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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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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Important Community Meeting, More Good News for Donelson and Strengthening Diplomatic Ties with Belfast, Ireland

I was thrilled to receive an opportunity for a trip of a lifetime representing Nashville as part of the Sister Cities program.  Belfast, Ireland has been a Sister City of Nashville for 20-years.  Aside from Canada and the Bahamas, this was my first time travelling overseas.  It was an extraordinary trip and I learned a great deal about their history, progress on overcoming socio-economic and political challenges, how they merge redevelopment with historic preservation, foster urban renewal and much, much more. 

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Donelson Non-Profit News - September 2016

Many have asked about Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market opening up on Saturday.  Here’s your opportunity!  This Saturday, September 17th from 8am to noon, the market will be down in Music Valley.  Come on out and enjoy a great morning at the market!

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Donelson Business News - September 2016

If you haven’t been down to Scoreboard Smokehouse Bar & Grill down in Music Valley, earlier this summer they added a huge covered deck that adds a whole new dimension this great restaurant.  Especially as the weather begins to cool a bit, I encourage you to go check it out.  They have great food and it’s a great place of course to watch a game with friends.

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Donelson School News - September 2016

I was honored to be part of the ribbon cutting for the new barn at Raider Ranch, a great addition that will expand teaching opportunities in the agriculture department at McGavock High School.  Students, teachers and animals were very happy at the enhanced facilities.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - September 2016

The main update for the Neighborhood News section directly relates to the changes happening at the Public Works department.  Mark Macy served as the Interim Director of Public Works for a couple of years.  He is a talented engineer and also served as the Chief Engineer of the department.  He recently stepped down from his Interim Director position in order to return his focus on the many important responsibilities of being the Chief Engineer.  Mayor Barry appointed her Director of Infrastructure, Mark Sturtevant, as the new Interim Director of Public Works.  The Mayor directed Mark Sturtevant to perform a top to bottom review of the department and how we can address the increasing needs our communities all across Davidson County are experiencing as we continue to experience rapid growth.  The NashvilleNext plan called for looking into creating a local Department of Transportation so that we can begin to focus on how we will build a much needed improved transportation infrastructure.  Mark is working hard on creating efficiencies at the department in the short term and also planning for what the future structure of the department will be.

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Great News – The Donelson Plaza Returns to Local Ownership!

There are a few consistent desires of neighbors across our community that I hear quite often.  Folks would like to ride the Music City Star at more convenient and additional times and they’d like to see more retail and restaurant options in the area.  Our Downtown Donelson Urban Design Overlay is a long term plan that fundamentally addresses these issues and provides the vision for sustainable growth and revitalizing the heart of Donelson into a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented town center.

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Donelson Non-Profit News - August 2016

There will be two more Music at the Mansion events in August and September at Two Rivers Mansion.  Saturday, August 27 will feature the 6th Annual Nashville Blues Society show featuring Them Rubies, a fantastic female vocal Americana trio you won’t want to miss.  Saturday, September 17 will welcome the return of The Moonlighters big band.  Also, don’t forget that tours are available throughout the month of August. 

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Donelson School News - August 2016

Dr. Joseph certainly hit the ground running even before he officially took his new role as Director of Schools.  Read about his vision and the “First 100 Days” here.  I had the opportunity to meet with him and other community and elected leaders this summer and I look forward to his leadership making a positive impact in all our schools.  After that meeting, we then had the opportunity to tour McGavock High School and see the great experiences that the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) and the Nashville Scholars summer program offers.  MNPS has also created a new logo and launched a brand new website, which looks great and is easier to navigate.  Check it out at www.mnps.org.

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