Donelson School News – February 2020

Number Magazine is a free quarterly art journal that seeks to Amplify the voices of artists living in the South.  They accept proposals for articles, interviews, and reviews on a rolling basis.  Check out for more information.  If you know a great Art Educator and want to nominate them as an Art-Ed Hero, please email

 They also have the Young Art Writers Project(YAWP) that offers resources to Kindergarten-college teachers that seek to encourage kids to write about art in their communities by publishing their work online and in the quarterly magazine.  Please spread the word to educators about this resource.  If you know a business that would like to distribute Number Magazine in Donelson email Randy Purcell at  Here’s a picture of me getting the latest edition at Caliber Coffee.

The Metropolitan Action Commission is looking for partners who will serve as food locations where youth can receive nutritious meals during the summer when school ends for the summer.  Metro Action receives funding to provide breakfast and lunch meals to locations such as apartment properties, summer camps, community centers, enrichment programs, youth sports and dance camps.  To qualify as a site, the location must be in communities where families with low incomes reside.  There are other requirements such as refrigeration for meals and attending the site providers training in May.  

To apply as a site to provide meals visit the agency’s website to access the application and submit to that agency’s main office (800 2nd Avenue North).  Metro Action urges all potential sites to submit their application by Friday, February 28, 2020.  For more information call 615-862-8860, Extension 70120.  The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a national program designated to provide nutritionally balanced meals for school-age children during the summer that may otherwise go without a meal during the day.  Metro Action receives federal funding for the SFSP from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service through a grant with the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Donelson School News

Pennington Bend

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

Dear Friends –

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

 Around February 2007, Ryman Hospitality (then Gaylord Entertainment) finalized assembling property they owned (approximately 107 acres) into a Specific Plan (SP) for development via BL2007-1357.  In 2011, about 22 acres were added to that SP via BL2011-69 and then a water/snow park was announced as a partnership with Dolly Parton, which as we know, did not end up happening.

On February 22, 2007 at the Planning Commission, an update to the Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory Community Plan was enacted to place stipulations and restrictions on the proposed development.  See Page 33 of our community plan.  Also, read the minutes from the Planning Commission meeting here where it states a community meeting had over 400 in attendance.  The update was adopted to protect the integrity of the residential neighborhood area around the development.  They are:

  • No vehicular access from the property to Pennington Bend Road, except that of emergency and construction vehicles
  • Utilize a variety of techniques to minimize traffic accessing the site from McGavock Pike South
  • Develop a quality view and visual transition for the homes on the east side of Pennington Bend Road, closest to the development (e.g., not a paved parking lot)
  • Include a landscape buffer between surrounding residential beyond that required in the zoning code for Commercial Attraction (CA) zoning abutting residential districts. Such buffering is needed to preserve and enhance the residentially oriented design of the Pennington Bend Road streetscape, ensure Pennington Bend’s continued success as a desirable residential street, and begin to buffer impacts of development such as noise
  • Lighting is to be located, scaled, and directed so as not to shine on adjacent residential areas
  • Lit signage is to be located, scaled, and directed so as not to shine on adjacent residential areas
  • Restrict certain allowed land uses in the Commercial Attraction Zoning District, further described in the Specific Plan Zoning District with the intent of ensuring maximum compatibility with adjacent neighborhoods
  • This CMC area is not intended to expand to the east side of Pennington Bend Road
  • Explore possible pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods, greenways and shopping areas
  • Provide a trail or sidewalk along the west side of Pennington Bend Road and the north side of McGavock Pike
  • New developments within this Special Policy Area are to utilize the Specific Plan zoning district as the most effective tool to implement the intent of this Special Policy.

After plans for the proposed water/snow were cancelled, the property remained undeveloped for some time.  Some will remember Cavalia using the land for their unique show.  Towards the end of 2017, Ryman announced they were partnering with Lincoln Property Company to create a mixed-use office park master plan, which fits within the existing SP and incorporates all of the restrictions and stipulations listed above.  Their marketing materials for this development are here

The first phase will be infrastructure work and 296 apartment homes (1, 2 and 3-bedroom), which will be separated into eight buildings three to four stories with about 25-54 apartments each and will also include a clubhouse.  Along Pennington Bend there will be a buffer zone that includes a 10-foot wide lighted walking path that will have public access.  The first 1,300 feet of this buffer zone will be 20-feet wide and then it will bump up to a 50-foot landscape buffer.  These buffers will be heavily planted per the city requirements.  The first apartment units will be coming to market around mid-2021.  There will also be a new signalized entrance off of McGavock Pike.  Here is the site plan plus a rendering.

Pennington Bend

Pennington Bend

Pennington Bend

Regarding additional infrastructure and traffic, I’ve done everything I can do to facilitate that.  Many will remember the efforts I undertook in regards to traffic during the Holidays as well as push for needed infrastructure from the State on Briley Parkway.  Ryman and Opry Mills co-funded their own infrastructure improvement study and presented their findings to Governor Haslam and TDOT, which included a potential third interchange.  That interchange could ideally go around 2600 Pennington Bend Road, which is owned by the St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church.  During the early part of my first term, I met with the church leaders on a couple of occasions as it is land they own but don’t use (their church is in southeast Nashville) and they wished to sell if for development.  I was not keen on seeing this property developed if it meant our only chance of additional infrastructure could go there.  There is still interest in developing that property.  In the end, it will be up to the State to build any additional infrastructure or improvements on Briley Parkway.  Metro’s part is that as developments are proposed, ensuring Pennington Bend Road is safe and can accommodate any development is an important consideration.

The parcel just north of 2600 Pennington Bend Road is where the 24 townhome proposal is.  We had one community meeting on this and the feedback was helpful to Roy Dale, the engineer.  He has reduced density and incorporated a better stormwater area and also identified a couple of pipes under Briley Parkway that were clogged and not functioning well, which is likely the cause of some flooding issues over the years.  Our second meeting will be on Thursday, February 6th at 6:30pm at Grace Nazarene Church.

Pennington Bend Townhomes

Another development that is happening (and does not need a zoning change) is 13 additional homes in Pennington Bend Chase.  Batson Homes purchased 2707 and 2705 Pennington Bend Road and will extend Valley Bend Rd.  There will be no road connection anywhere, just an extension of the road.  They will be similar homes to what is already there and go for about $400k.

I continue to work with River Glen and their infrastructure repair issues still lingering from the May 2010 flood.  I also continue to work with Abbington Park and Abbington Shores as the final phases of Abbington Shores is built.  23 homes are being built now.  The final phase is not yet planned out and we will have a community meeting when there is a proposal.  As part of my efforts to see needed investment into Lock Two Park (it needs a master plan and restoration of the historic Lock Master’s House), the current construction entrance will hopefully be a road connection to give Abbington Park quicker access to the Park.  I believe it will also help with the park not being so isolated, which has on occasion attracted an unwanted presence of those up to no good.

Finally, as many will recall, I passed BL2018-1157, which puts an end to irresponsible development along the river and ensures there is a permanent buffer along the Cumberland River.

As part of the upcoming Metro budget season, CM Bob Mendes and CM Kyzonte Toombs (Chair and Vice Chair respectively of the Budget & Finance Committee) will host meetings across the county to get feedback about the challenges we face and options ahead of us.  Thanks to CM Erin Evans for putting this graphic together.  Here are all the meetings.  Note the one in our area is March 12th.

Metro Budget Meetings

Big congratulations to Officer Bret Johns of our Hermitage Precinct for being one of the eight MNPD Employees of the Year.  Read about Officer Johns and our other great MNPD employees who very deservedly earned this recognition here.

Andrea Hancock, a Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist is offering a free, 45 minute training to educate individuals about the prevention of an opioid overdose and its reversal, if necessary.  At the conclusion of the training Narcan will be provided to the attendees along with a certificate.  Visit this link for concise, informative overview of the training which can immediately impact and save a life.  Contact Andrea directly at or 615-279-0058 for more information.

I enjoyed speaking at SAE Institute on Music Row to engage in a discussion about home studios and a proposal at Metro Council to expand the Home Occupation Permit that would make them legal.  Currently, they are not.  It’s an important discussion to ensure the integrity of our neighborhoods is kept at the same time supporting an integral piece of what makes us “Music City”.  Pictured below is Kevin White with SAE and Lij Shaw, home studio owner and advocate.

SAE  with Jeff Syracuse


Jeff Syracuse - Metro Council District 15

Donelson Council News

Doneslon School News – January 2020

I had the pleasure of meeting new McGavock Elementary principal, Rae Covey.  She’s wonderful and is already building a great culture to learn and work.  I also picked up my McGavock Elementary shirts I will wear proudly in the community to support them.

I had the pleasure of meeting new McGavock Elementary principal, Rae Covey
I joined Mayor Cooper at Two Rivers Middle School to take part in and thank all the school leadership and volunteers for creating a program that put together food boxes for students who don’t have stable, healthy food during the Holidays.  Metro Nashville Network was on hand to film the event.  View it here.
Also in support of Two Rivers Middle, Council Members took part in the Adopt A Teacher Program and I was proud to join CM At Large Zolfat Suara, CM District 2 Kyontze Toombs, CM District 3 Jennifer Gamble and CM District 16 Ginny Welsch in adopting all the teachers at Two Rivers Middle and delivering supplies to them.
Adopt A Teacher Program at Two Rivers Middle School

Donelson School News

Donelson Non-Profit News – January 2020

The Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market continues to have their Winter Market every 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday through April at The Donelson Fellowship.

Hip Donelson Winter Market
I was honored to attend the inaugural fundraising breakfast for the Akilah DaSilva Foundation.  Akilah was one of the victims of the Waffle House shooting.  His mother and family have done an extraordinary job in creating a non-profit organization in his memory to fight gun violence and provide scholarships to students.

Akilah DaSilva Foundation
Akilah DaSilva Foundation

I had the grand opportunity to be an MC along with District 32 CM Joy Styles in supporting Cremona Strings, which was founded to provide affordable string music lessons, rehearsals, training, education, performances, consultations, and advocacy.  They do a great job and it was so cool to see the positive impact this music education non-profit has on student’s lives.
MC along with District 32 CM Joy Styles in supporting Cremona Strings

Akilah DaSilva Foundation, Cremona Strings, Donelson Non-Profit News, Hip Donelson

Donelson Business News – January 2020

Big congratulations to Fletcher’s on their 40th anniversary.  The new paper, Main Street Nashville, did a nice article on this milestone.  Read it here.
Big thanks to Kursynske & Associates for the renovation they have underway at the corner Lebanon Pike and the entrance to Donelson Station.  Here are a couple of artist renderings of what the building will be transformed into.  No new tenants lined up yet, just construction and rehab at the moment.

Kursynske & Associates for the renovation they have underway at the corner Lebanon Pike
Kursynske & Associates for the renovation they have underway at the corner Lebanon Pike

As most have heard by now, the corner of Lebanon Pike and Fairway Drive where the Philip’s 66 gas station used to be is going to be a Chase Bank.  A rendering is below
Lebanon Pike and Fairway Drive where the Philip’s 66 gas station used to be is going to be a Chase Bank.
I was humbled and honored to receive the Community Advocate award at the annual end of the year awards luncheon at the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber.  Special thanks to 2019 President Randy Brothers for all his work this past year.
Special thanks to 2019 President Randy Brothers for all his work this past year
The 35th Annual Donelson-Hermitage Chamber Christmas Parade was another big success.  Businesses and organizations from all around participated.  This was the first year The Donelson Gateway Project decorated a float.  I walked with it and with Mayor Cooper for a bit.  It was great to see everyone.  Thanks to Mayor Cooper for coming by our float before we started.
Thanks to Mayor Cooper for coming by our float before we started the Christmas Parade.  
Many know about the acquisition a few years ago of CVS, Baskin-Robbins and Pizza Hut at the corner of McGavock Pike / Lebanon Pike. I met with the developers, Commercial Realty Services (website below) right after they purchased the properties back in 2015/16. They are the same ones that brought us Sindoore Indian By Nature and Jimmy John’s in the revamped shopping center at 457 Donelson Pike. Their original intent was to redevelop BR and Pizza Hut into a similar strip center. Pizza Hut has several years left on their lease but BR’s lease ends at the end of this year. BR’s parcel is small and there aren’t many options for it on its own. Unfortunately, BR will be redeveloped into a Take 5 Oil Change.  As this does not require a zoning change, there is nothing I can do.  I am looking at what options we have going forward to better align the vision of the Urban Design Overlay with the base zoning of parcels within the UDO.  As it’s Donelson’s only ice cream shop along Lebanon Pike, I’ve tried to help find them a new home and will advocate for another nice ice cream / dessert shop.  I’ll also continue my laser focused efforts of working with business and property owners to advocate for continued improvement along our Lebanon Pike business district with businesses our neighbors want that add value to our community.  I don’t want to disparage a new viable business, but a second quick oil change business less than a quarter mile from another one is not adding value to the community’s long standing desire for improvements and diversified businesses to support along Lebanon Pike.  I did meet with the new business owners of Take 5 and explained the whole situation.  They understand we aren’t blaming them and they want to be a valuable member of the community.
Welcome to Donelson, Catio Cat Lounge, a place where you can spend time with feline friends and adopt cat lounge and snack bar. Located in Music Valley Village at 2416 Music Valley Drive Suite 114, the Catio is a unique experience, offering a place where you can go to relax, snack and watch kitties play.
Domino’s Pizza will be moving into the former Papa Murphy’s building according to permits in the works.

Here’s a great story about the Eakes family / HJL Management and their efforts with revitalization their properties in Donelson.

Donelson Business News, Donelson Christmas Parade, Main Street Nashville, Mayor Cooper

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

Dear Friends –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coffee with Mayor Cooper

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

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

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

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

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

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


Donelson Council News, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Metro Finances

Merry Oaks 1 Traffic Calming Program Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15

Donelson Neighborhood News – November 2019

I was very pleased that Merry Oaks was selected to be part of the revamped Traffic Calming Program.  Launched last year in a new format, it ensures that data-driven decision making is used twice a year to ensure the greatest efficacy of efforts in our neighborhoods.  Merry Oaks scored high as far as speeding and incidents within neighborhoods.  Thanks to Merry Oaks neighbor John Landing for applying and leading this effort, the subsequent neighborhood meeting was well attended and feedback was used to put together the below preliminary investments to slow traffic down and make it more friendly for pedestrians and drivers alike.  Work will continue with the neighbors of Merry Oaks to refine the investments.  I encourage all neighborhoods to apply for the program and work towards improve the conditions in your neighborhood.

Merry Oaks 1 Traffic Calming Program Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15

Merry Oaks

Merry Oaks

Merry Oaks

I may be biased since this is my neighborhood, but Donelson Hills Neighborhood Association does a great job every year with our annual Halloween Block Party.  Check out all these great costumes!

Donelson Hills

Donelson Neighborhood News, Merry Oaks

Lisa Maddox Fifty Forward Director

Non-Profit Donelson News – November 2019

Big congrats to Lisa Maddox, who is our new Director of FiftyForward Donelson Station.  Lisa is a fantastic leader at the center and her energy and passion for FiftyForward’s mission can be seen and felt each and every day.  Thank you, Lisa and congrats on this very well deserved promotion!  Lisa is seen here with Mark and Kevin with Donelson Café & Catering during the recent Casino Night fundraiser.

Lisa Maddox Fifty Forward Director

Three chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (one from California and two here in Tennessee) joined together to pay tribute and dedicate a memorial to Major John Buchanan and wife Sally, who were among Nashville’s earliest pioneers.  If not for Sally, the battle that occurred there against Native Americans would likely not have been successful.  I was joined by newly appointed Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement Brenda Haywood from Mayor Cooper’s Office.  We presented proclamations and listened to the extraordinary history at the Buchanan Station Cemetery.

DAR Buchanon Memorial

DAR Buchanon Memorial

Our older Nashville neighbors who no longer drive need assistance getting to doctor visits, the grocery store and hair appointments. You can help them stay connected to the community by becoming a volunteer driver. Senior Ride Nashville needs caring, reliable drivers Monday through Friday. Becoming a driver is easy, and you can schedule the rides most convenient for you. Learn more at

Senior Ride Nashville

I was very happy to join members of the Donelson-Hermitage Rotary Club at their regular meeting at Party Fowl.  They give back and serve this community in very meaningful ways and it was a pleasure to have lunch with them.

Donelson Hermitage Rotary Club

The Donelson Gateway Project recently completed another school beautification project at Pennington Elementary.  After the recent renovation and addition of the school, it left an opportunity to support that effort with entranceway beautification.  Thanks again to the partnership with JVI Secret Gardens along with sponsors and the PTO, this project turned out great.  Visit DGP’s Facebook page here to check out pictures a great promo video put together to advertise the very successful fundraising effort.

The Nashville Singers will return to Donelson for their wonderful Holiday Concert at Lebanon Road Church of Christ on December 7th.  See flyer below for details and visit their website for tickets.  This is a great show and funds are used to support music education scholarships.

Nashville Singers

Donelson Non-Profit News, Fifty Forward Donelson Station

McGavock Award

Donelson School News – November 2019

According to Second Harvest, one in 5 youth in Nashville are food insecure.  Within the McGavock cluster there are approximately 350 students experiencing homelessness and a total of 2,449 youth in MNPS are homeless.  86% of our these students are “doubled-up” in the homes of friends and relatives as opposed to literal homelessness, but it’s still not a stable situation.  As the season of thanks and giving approaches there are multiple opportunities to give back to help Nashville’s most vulnerable and precious gifts.  One way to give back locally is to support the Community Pantry that is housed at Two Rivers Middle.  This pantry is open to families that have a child at schools in Donelson or Hermitage.  Monthly, families may shop for can goods, snacks for youth, meat (when available), toiletries, and other personal items so that students can focus on learning and not the barriers that they often are faced with.  In preparation for Thanksgiving, the Community Pantry is accepting donations of non-perishable thanksgiving themed food items, easy prep meals with pop-top lids, various snacks for kids, and $20 gift cards to Kroger.

Congratulations to the McGavock HS Marching Band!  The band was named Grand Champion at the Vanderbilt Marching Invitational Saturday, October 5th.  The band received a superior rating and was named Champion of Class AAA and received first place Overall Drum Majors.  Personal Note:  I was a drum major in high school for two years and this award is very impressive!  The McGavock Band hosted the 41st Annual Music City Invitational at McGavock on Saturday, October 19th.  GO BIG MAC!

Big congratulations go to McGavock High School’s Academy of Aviation and Transportation’s Derek Rowe, who applied for a Harbor Freight Tools for Teachers award and among the hundreds of applications, he was one of 18 schools across the United States to receive a $55,000 award.  McGavock Executive Principal Robbin Wall made it very special by inviting special guests, including our School Board Member Anna Shepherd, State Rep Darren Jernigan, Council Member Steve Glover and me.  Harbor Freight’s Regional Manager, Kevin Hungate, personally presented the award to Mr. Rowe.  This award will go a long way to enhance the extraordinary educational opportunities in this academy!

McGavock Award

Thanks to the invite from US Representative Jim Cooper’s Office, I had the opportunity to speak to the senior class at McGavock High School about the importance of registering to vote and participating.  I really do appreciate the opportunity and this hits home for me as Joey just turned 18 and this past Council and Mayoral election was his first opportunity to vote.

McGavock High School Voter Registration

I had the pleasure of hosting a booth to support Pennington Elementary’s Fall Festival.  It was great to visit with students, parents, teachers and staff.  Pennington’s PTO is a great group of parents that go above and beyond to make their school a success.  Thanks to Janet Killingsworth, PTO President, and everyone who works hard on behalf of Pennington.

Pennington Fall Festival

I also had the pleasure of being part of PENCIL’s annual Principal for a Day event.  I joined Ken DuBray with Enbright Credit Union as Principals shadowing Jackie Kinzer, Principal at Pennington Elementary.  She does an amazing job and every classroom we walked into shows clearly that she’s created an atmosphere that parents, teachers and staff love.  She’s a model leader for MNPS and I’m very thankful for Ms. Kinzer’s leadership.

Principal for a Day

Big thanks to McGavock Elementary, Stanford Montessori and Pennington Elementary for taking part in Walk Bike Nashville’s Walk to School Day.  Pennington’s physical education teacher, Derryle Farmer, goes all out and it’s quite an event!  Thanks to each school for being part of this opportunity.

Pennington Walk to School Day 

Donelson School News, McGavock HS Marching Band