Jeff Syracuse

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Donelson Neighborhood News - April 2018

The Neighborhoods Resource Center is launching their inaugural Conference for Neighborhoods on April 14th.  One of the breakout sessions is called “From Neighborhood Leader to Metro Council Member” and pleased to join District 34 Councilwoman Angie Henderson and District 6 Councilman Brett Withers on this panel.  There are other breakout sessions and panels, so I encourage anyone currently involved or interested in being involved in your neighborhood to look into attending this conference.

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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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Donelson Non-Profit News - October 2017

The annual Halloween at the Mansion event is coming on Saturday, October 28th at Two Rivers Mansion. Trick or Treating, haunted basement, hayrides, pumpkin painting, food, music and more will make for a great tradition in the community. The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion is also seeking vendors for a $50 tax-deductible donation to the Friends group. They will supply the candy this year. See posters below for more details.

Halloween at the Mansion 1

Halloween at the Mansion 2

Mark your calendars for the annual Holy Rosary Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, November 18th. This is always a popular yearly event and this year they’ve added food trucks and entertainment. See poster below for more details.

Holy Rosary Christmas Bazaar

Larry Keeton Live Music Series Blues Night Of Music

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Donelson School News - October 2017

A wonderful story by News Channel 5 highlighted a real hero among our teachers. Tina Noel at Donelson Middle School has truly gone above and beyond to take care of her kids. Her classroom now has a food bank to help ensure none of her kids go hungry. If you'd like to contribute, you may bring donations to the front office. Call the school at (615) 884-4080 for more info.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes at McGavock High School is hosting their Fields of Faith event on Wednesday, October 25th at 7pm. It will be hosted on the football field. See poster below.

Fields of Faith

Remington College at 441 Donelson Pike is offering a very nice scholarship for civil servants, first responders, law enforcement officers, active military, reservists or government agency employees. See poster below for more info.

Remmington College scholarships

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Donelson Business News - October 2017

Sindoore – Indian by Nature opened up recently in Donelson to rave reviews. It’s located at 457 Donelson Pike and the food is delicious. I encourage everyone to try it!

I was honored to be at the ribbon cutting for SmART Supplies, which supports Progress, Inc. Big thanks to State Representative Bill Beck for attending as well. Thanks to the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce for being part of the event.

SmART Supplies

This is welcome news for District 15, which has a small part of 37217 along Spence Lane and Murfreesboro Pike. It is designated as a Tier One Center as part of Nashville Next, which means it’s a focus to create a walkable, transit-friendly area to grow sustainably. Murfreesboro Pike is slated to be a mass transit line from Rutherford County and possibly also as a connection from the airport.

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Donelson Neighborhood News - October 2017

I’ve received some inquiries regarding NES changing out meters. They are gradually switching from analog meters, which are no longer manufactured, to digital meters. NES has used digital Encoder Receiver Transmitter (ERT) meters (often called smart meters) since the late 1990's. They began installing AMI meters (often also called smart meters) in early 2012. They are currently at 75% deployment after a slow rollout that will hopefully be completed by 2020. AMI technology, supplied by Landis and Gyr, enables the meters to be read remotely, so meter readers do not have to enter a customer's property every month. This two-way communication with the electric grid improves service and power reliability for customers and helps NES better manage the energy load on our system. All meters used by NES meet applicable safety standards. They have been approved by the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates radio frequency emissions nationally, and follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) radio frequency standards. The radio frequencies emitted by AMI meters are much lower than cell phones, cordless phones or baby monitors. In addition, the data received from AMI meters is no different than the information they currently have access to. The only change is that it is remotely reported to NES daily rather than once a month. Meter upgrades are happening over various parts of the service area and customers are notified by mail before the switch out takes place. NES offers a temporary deferral option to allow customers to opt-out of receiving an AMI meter for a monthly fee. Customers can call NES Customer Relations at 615-736-6900 to request an AMI deferral form. Alternatively, NES residential customers may hire an electrician to mount a new meter pedestal and base away from their home in close proximity to the street to install the AMI meter. For additional information, visit their webpage here.

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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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Donelson Non-Profit News - September 2017

Fifty Forward Donelson Station will be hosting a casino night in support of the center.  See details in the flyer below.

Casino Night at Fifty Forward Donelson Station

Grace Story Church is a new church for Donelson and is “a community where everyone is welcome because there’s no one to impress and nothing to prove.  To put it simply, we’re a community defined by grace.”  They launch their services on Sunday, September 17th at 4pm and they’re located at 400 Donelson Pike in the building by the playground.  Visit their website at the link above for more info.

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Donelson School News - September 2017

Last newsletter I wrote about the situation of the delay at Pennington Elementary School’s expansion and renovation.  This past month I’ve also been made aware of the need for repair and upgrade of sidewalks and crossings around the school.  I’m engaged with Public Works and MNPS and they are looking into this.  I hope to be able to share progress in subsequent newsletters.

Speaking of sidewalks, the good news to share is that as you probably have seen if you traverse McGavock Pike, the sidewalks connecting McGavock High School onto McGavock Pike are being installed.  I’ve asked for that for a long time.  I also have a Capital Improvement Budget request for a sidewalk on McGavock Pike to at least for now connect McGavock High School and Two Rivers Middle.  Not time frame and I still need to get that funded, but it would be well used I believe.

TN Achieves is always looking for mentors to serve our local schools.  Visit their website to learn more.  This is one way you can serve our local community and help kids get a solid start in life.

TN Achieves Is Always Looking For Mentors

The Nashville Youth Basketball Association is recruiting for their fall league.  This is held at McGavock High School.  Visit their website for more info and see the flyer below.

Nashville Youth Baseball Association is recruiting for their fall league

Congrats to the McGavock High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter for being named a finalists for the 2017 Model of Excellence Award.  There is always something amazing and noteworthy to celebrate about McGavock High School

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Donelson Business News - September 2017

Be sure to check out the last edition of my newsletter on updates for almost twenty different developments happening in the 15th District.

Welcome Caliber Coffee!  This will be a new coffee shop and , which will be the third locally-owned coffee shop coming to Donelson, which will also have a full menu.  It’s an exciting time of new locally owned restaurants popping up and I’m so thankful for our neighbors who are taking the courageous steps of starting their own small business right here in the community.

SmART Supplies is coming to Music Valley!  This could be both part of the Business News or Non-Profit News section as SmART Supplies is a social enterprise of Progress, Inc., who do great work on behalf of those with disabilities and seniors who need care.  Their ribbon cutting will be Friday, September 22nd.  See flyer below for details.

Smart Supplies Is Coming to Music Valley

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Donelson Neighborhood News - September 2017

There are three updates in regards to my focus on traffic calming and safety in our neighborhoods:

  1. In Donelson Hills, a 4-way stop sign will be installed at Cottage Lane and Dellrose Drive. It is with deep regret that the initiative of this effort began with a fatal crash at this intersection.  This intersection has long been a dangerous one with limited site distance and consistent speeding.

  2. In Elm Hill Acres, the speed limit has been reduced on Sanborn Drive from 35 to 30. Most of our single family neighborhoods do not have sidewalks and our streets must be shared with pedestrians.  Every effort needs to be made to make them safe pedestrians and drivers.

  3. McGavock Pike, while it is well-travelled and used by many, it is essentially a residential street and should remain so in my opinion. Towards that effort, I’ve asked that large trucks not use it as a cut-through and for this to be an enforceable policy via the Traffic & Parking Commission.  So far, the stretch from Elm Hill Pike to Lebanon Pike has been deemed so and I am awaiting confirmation that the stretch from Lebanon Pike to Pennington Bend Rd will be so as well.
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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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Donelson School News - August 2017

A few parents at Pennington Elementary reached out to me about a meeting that was being held at the school to discuss the issues surrounding the construction project.  I didn’t know about the meeting until that day so I wasn’t able to attend.  Our School Board Member, Anna Shepherd, did attend and learned the meeting was informative.  As I understand, the project is slated to be completed by mid-2018.  It’s not ideal and I believe the contractor will find it difficult to be involved with future MNPS projects after this.  I’m sorry to hear about these delays and challenges but it sounds like the staff and administration are doing a good job managing it the best they can and any immediate safety issues have been properly addressed.  Don’t hesitate to contact me with any additional concerns.

Welcome back to all students and best of luck in this new school year!

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Donelson Non-Profit News - August 2017

There are just a few more weeks to enjoy the summer Two Rivers Mansion tours, which now include a tour of our freshly furnished 1802 House.  Docent-led tours are available every Monday, Thursday and Friday in August from 11:00am – 4:00pm.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.  Members are always free.

1802 House Two Rivers Mansion Tours

I had the pleasure of watching the National Wheelcats championship game held at McGavock High School.  Nashville won!  It was fun to watch and the teams are competitive.  It was an eye opener about the challenges they face but very uplifting to see how the teams overcome them.  As we grow our Metro Parks system, we need to ensure we have facilities and support for everyone.

National Wheelcats Championship Nashville

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Donelson Business News - August 2017

It’s exciting times in Donelson as news of positive developments is all around us.  It’s going to be a busy last half of the year.  Here’s an update on potential/rumored and “coming soon” developments:

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Donelson Neighborhood News - August 2017

I’m pleased to share two good pieces of news for Maplecrest.  The first is the long awaited sidewalk on Fairway Drive.  It’s finally moving forward.  Public Works is hoping to start work on it this fall, but legislation has to go through for right of way acquisition and working with each property owner still needs to happen, but we’re getting there.  Here is a diagram.

Fairway Drive New Sidewalk Coming

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

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Donelson School News - July 2017

Congratulations to McGavock Elementary School’s Lee Farrar, who was named Elementary Librarian of the Year.

Lee Farrar Elementary School Librarian of the Year

It was great to join members of the McGavock Cluster Coalition and Donelson-Hermitage Chamber in congratulating McGavock High School students on their last day.  The First Day and Last Day celebrations are a great way for the community to show their support for our students.

McGavock High School Last Day

If you need to enroll your child in school, you’re still able to do so.  For the first year ever, MNPS is opening two MNPS Enrollment Centers on Saturdays in July from 8am – noon.  You can enroll, withdraw or transfer your child.  English Learner assessments will also be available at both locations.  See details on dates and locations below.  To determine what documents to bring, check out the list here. If you can't make it to one of these two locations on a Saturday visit one of 11 enrollment centers during regular hours (7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., weekdays).

I thoroughly enjoyed a tour and lunch with the staff of Arts Institute of Tennessee – Nashville.  The lunch was made by students who are working to learn how to manage a commercial kitchen and restaurant.  The educational offerings at the school are vast and truly support our hospitality, entertainment and related other industries.  They do an excellent job at job placement as well.  Below is a picture of President Greg Chapman (to my right) and members of his staff.

Arts Institute of Tennessee

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Donelson Non-Profit News - July 2017

Phat Bites has partnered with Hip Donelson and local non-profits to offer a free meal to eligible families in need up through the August 4th market.  See the flyer below for more information and contact info to support this effort.

Hip Eats

My thanks to the Stones River Women’s Club for inviting to speak to their membership luncheon meeting last month.  Any ladies interested in getting involved in this club that has been active for over 50 years and has done a great deal of work to preserve and advance Two Rivers Mansion, please contact Karen Cowell at 615-812-4798 or

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Donelson Business News - July 2017

Donelson Corner is in the process of receiving an upgrade and facelift and will encourage great new tenants at the shopping center as well.  I’m thankful to HJL Properties, run by the Eakes family, for making this investment.  Below is a rendering of what the completed project will look like.

Donelson Corner Revitalization

Two buildings at the corner of Graylynn Drive and Lebanon Pike have received a nice upgrade and renovation.  Deli Dogs & Sweet Treats at 104 Graylynn Drive serves delicious hot dogs, smoked sausage, grilled cheese and other favorites in addition to delicious desserts.  Right in front of the restaurant is the former Jackie’s Barber Shop that was painted to match the building behind it and is now Monty’s Barber Shop.  Both of these businesses will be having a Grand Opening for the community on Saturday, July 22nd, so please spread the word and come on out.

Deli Dogs Sweets and Tweets


Deli Dogs Menu

Monty's Barber Shop

Music Valley has a new restaurant to try out and this one supports Veteran’s unemployment issue as well.  Semper Sliders offers a variety of sliders including beef, chicken, pork and Portobello.  They are located just under the Music Valley Village sign at the entrance.  You can’t miss the green trailer.  Below is a flyer with employment and more information about this new business and a check out this story from News Channel 5 here.

Semper Sliders in Music Valley Village

The proposed multi-family development across the street from Donelson Station was approved by the Planning Commission on June 22.  You can read the action agenda from the Commission here.  It will next be at the full Council for Public Hearing on Tuesday, August 1st.  Keep tabs with the Metro Council Agenda page.

The Kmart-anchored shopping center on Donelson Pike was sold recently for $5.8 million.  There are no current plans for any changes to occur with shopping center and Kmart is not closing.  Check out an article from The Tennessean here with more information.

Congratulations to The Nashville Palace on their 40th Anniversary.  Big thanks to John A. Hobbs for creating and supporting this now legendary music venue in Nashville and his grandson, Barrett Hobbs, for continuing on making it a place to showcase great talent, both up and coming and well-known.  I’m honored to present them a proclamation recognizing this mile stone later this year.  Check out an article from The Tennessean about this story here.

A number of folks have asked me what the parking lot at 1809 Lebanon Pike is going in across from the Clovernook neighborhood.  Ultimately, it is affiliated with the Mercedes Benz dealership being constructed at the I-40 / Briley Parkway interchange.  It will be an auxiliary lot for their operations.

Several have noticed some infrastructure pieces being brought in to the site that is being raised up near Mill Creek and next do Donelson Hills.  This development proposal passed in 2011 and they will only develop ten of the forty acres.  The ten acres will include 18,000 square feet of retail at the front and about fifty small homes behind it.  They’ve been building up the ten acres to be developed over the past several years to be at grade with Lebanon Pike.  The other thirty acres will be arbors, trails and wetlands and could connect to future parts of the Greenway system.  The development team recently secured a deal with Goodall Homes, a reputable Middle Tennessee builder, so hopefully the rate of progress on this site will continue to increase as we’ve seen over the past month or so.

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