Tag: Donelson Council News

New Donelson Library Site

Fencing is finally going around the new Donelson Branch Library site.  We are slowly but surely getting there.  Meanwhile, here’s a nice piece about Amber Lelli, the artist who will design the interior art piece in our new library that will hang from the second floor and be very visible as you walk into the library. 

Donelson Council News, Donelson Library, Donelson Neighborhood News

Downtown Nashville

Metro Nashville 2023 Budget Recap

July 1, 2022 begins our FY2023 fiscal year for Metro Government.  As reported in my last newsletter, overall, I was generally pleased with the budget proposal from Mayor Cooper.  I want to thank Council Member At Large Burkley Allen for leading Council through the budget process as Budget & Finance Chair and crafting a substitute budget that made some important tweaks to address critical issues, specifically the $22.6 million gap in funding for MNPS that we had to address.  It was unfortunate that the issue was caused by the timing of when the Mayor was required to send his budget proposal to Council and when the final new calculation from the State came in, which created the deficit.

Donelson Council News, Nashville Metro Budget

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August 4 Voting Schedule Councilman Jeff Syracuse

August 4th Voting Schedule

Please don’t forget the August 4th election is fast approaching. All information is located at www.nashville.gov/vote. Below is the schedule. Make a plan to vote! 

Please be sure to check out a sample ballot on the website.  It’s a long ballot.  There are also four Metro Charter amendment proposals on the ballot.  I’m advocating for voting in favor of all four.  Council Member At Large Bob Mendes does an excellent job of explaining them.  Check out his blog post about it here.

August 4 Voting Schedule Councilman Jeff Syracuse

 

Donelson Council News, Make A Plan To Vote

Permanent Supportive Housing

FY23 Budget Season, Pennington Bend Meetings and the Mayor’s Office of Music, Film and Entertainment

The Metro FY23 budget season has begun.  Fundamentally, the Mayor’s Budget is a good one as I see it thus far and focuses on critical needs.  Council has begun our budget hearings to take a deep dive into the Mayor’s proposal.  The Citizen’s Guide to the Metro Budget can be found here.  Some of the highlights of the FY32 budget proposal:

  • 4% COLA and step increases
  • Support for Paid Family Leave
  • MNPD personnel support for the 9th precinct – 46 officers
  • Emergency Communications personnel support – 36 additional staff
  • Fire Department personnel support – 31 positions
  • Highest ever support for affordable housing between budget and federal American Rescue Plan funds with personnel support for Housing Division
  • Support for homelessness via American Rescue Plan funds with personnel support for Metro Homeless Impact Division to address substance abuse, mental health and finally moving forward for a 90-unit permanent supportive housing complex.
  • Codes, Fire Marshall, Planning and Water – focused personnel support to meet continued growing demand for services
  • Additional much needed support for Parks, Arts and Libraries

Here is an invitation to attend the groundbreaking of the permanent supportive housing complex on Tuesday, May 31st.

Permanent Supportive Housing

One specific announcement that I am very happy about is the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Music, Film & Entertainment.  Since I was elected in 2015, I have worked with all three administrations on the effort to continue efforts creating a public-private partnership to support our music industry and eco-system.  The Music City Music Council was an initiative created under Mayor Karl Dean, and then further supported under Mayor Megan Barry with the first full-time position in her office. 

The effort to further stronger governance and strategic planning stalled with the political shake-up within the Mayor’s Office and then 2020 hit and so it unfortunately went on the back burner of priorities.  Rapid growth and development coupled with the negative impact of the pandemic has shuttered venues and made it extraordinarily difficult for creatives to thrive.

I passed legislation securing funding from American Rescue Plan funds to study ways we can sustain and support our independent music venues, a critical small business sector as part of our overall music eco-system.  This is the beginning of what a revitalized Music City Music Council as part of this new office should be doing to support Nashville’s status as Music City, USA.  I find myself more and more stating that Nashville is becoming a victim of its own success. 

If we don’t support the working creatives in this city and the infrastructure that supports them, a major part of our culture and economy will be negatively impacted and so I’m very happy this new Office will help to refocus our efforts.  I continue to work with Mayor Cooper and his administration on creating an Office of Music, Film & Entertainment that has a strong private-public co-funded component that will help ensure it’s sustainability. 

Sustainability and resiliency efforts continue within Metro.  This summer, local experts, nonprofits, and researchers will team with citizen scientists to measure temperatures and humidity across Nashville and Davidson County during a one-day heat mapping campaign. The data will reveal the warmest and coolest neighborhoods in our city and help inform heat mitigation efforts by city public health and environmental officials, nonprofits, urban planners, urban foresters, and researchers.

Below are examples of heat mitigation strategies that Nashville could explore and possibly implement using data collected during the heat mapping campaign. The data collected is likely to be most impactful in terms of informing locations in greatest need of mitigation strategies. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Increased education and outreach on heat risks and heat equity issues
  • Increasing trees and vegetative cover
  • Creating green or cool roofs
  • Use of cool pavements
  • Creation of cooling and/or hydration centers
  • Deployment of early warning systems
  • Encouragement of energy conservation measures

There are a variety of mechanisms that could be used to execute these strategies. This, and a variety of other mitigation strategy design and implementation factors, would need to be discussed among interested stakeholders and neighborhoods to make sure there is ample engagement and buy-in to move forward.

A volunteer recruitment process has begun. Individuals interested in participating in the campaign should complete this form.

Congratulations to Dr. Berthena Nabaa-McKinney for winning her election for School Board District 4 (Donelson – Hermitage – Old Hickory).  I endorsed her and will continue to support her in the County Primary Election August 4th.  The “Find 2022 Election Information” link at the Davidson County Election Commission website is very handy to prepare for and learn about the candidates.  Remember that if you need to register or update your registration (i.e. address change, even within Davidson County), you can do so online as well.  All information you need to engage with our elections is on that website.  A small number of voters decided judges, District Attorney and School Board races in the May 3rd election.  I encourage everyone to be mindful of elections and please participate!

I have not moved forward with a zone change in the Pennington Bend in a few years. There has been a need to align infrastructure with an improved pedestrian-focused policy via Nashville Department of Transportation specific for Pennington Bend before we move forward with the remaining developable areas in the area. After a lot of work behind the scenes, I’m prepared to move forward with bringing us back together with meetings over the next several months.

The first is a 42-unit single family development at 2600 Pennington Bend. Please make plans to attend a community meeting on Monday, June 6th at 6:30pm at Grace Church of the Nazarene at 2620 Pennington Bend Rd. We will discuss where we are headed from a broad perspective as well as hear a presentation from the developer, M/I Homes.

Pennington Mills Preliminary Concept Plans May 27 2022

A second community meeting for Pennington Bend will be on Thursday, June 23rd at 6:30pm at the Texas Troubadour Theater.  This is to discuss a development proposal of a highly amenitized RV resort with a small mixed-use component along Music Valley Dr for the 180-acre Gleaves Farm.  In addition, there is an empty 6-acre parcel along the western side of Pennington Bend Road that is part of the Wyndham Vacation Resort PUD (Planned Unit Development) that is being proposed as a for-sale townhome product.  I wanted to ensure these two developments were aligned in terms of both community engagement and proceeding through the Planning process.

Lincoya Hills Neighborhood Association will have a meeting on Saturday, June 18th from 10am-noon to discuss two topics.  The first is to review the traffic calming program recommendations with neighbors and talk about next steps.  Please see the proposed speed cushion proposals below.  The second topic is to discuss the Contextual Overlay, which is the only tool in the toolbox that is available to protect the character of our mid-20th century neighborhoods.  As neighbors know, there was a three-story addition on a home on Windemere Circle that prompted a lot of questions and concerns about the future of the character of the neighborhood and what options neighbors have.  A member of the Planning Department team will be in attendance to explain the Overlay and answer any questions.  I currently have no intentions of filing any bill to implement an Overlay for Lincoya Hills.  This is purely an educational meeting, and the neighborhood will need to further discuss if this is the direction they’d like to take or not.Lincoya Hills

Lincoya Hills 2

I am very happy to welcome new Donelson Branch Library manager Ryan Darrow.  Ryan has hit the ground running and is already doing wonderful things engaging the community and leading his team to serve Donelson via the library.  He has begun to revitalize the Friends of Donelson Library and work towards the group being a strong, supportive organization especially as our new library is built.  Click here to sign up if you’re interested in being part of this group and support our current and future library.

I was honored to be approved from officials from the City of Liverpool on engaging with Nashville on a second Liverpool International Songwriting Contest.  Starting during the pandemic as a way of promoting kindness and engagement when we were all separated, this year’s event, called “Road to Nashville”, will focus is on the stigma of mental health, especially in the songwriter / artist community.  So far as of the writing of this newsletter, there have been over 1,200 song submissions from 11 different countries.  Every songwriter who submits a song will have access to a life coach and/or a psychologist in the country where they reside.  The finals will be held on October 9th (John Lennon’s birthday, another Liverpool connection) at Exit / In here in Nashville.  It’s been a wonderful project to be part of.  For more information and to submit a song, visit this link.

Liverpool Internationl Song Contest 2022 Road to Nashville

CMA Fest is back and now there is an opportunity ride the WeGo Star to the festivities.  Read more about with links and more info at this link to a new story about it from WKRN Channel 2.

The Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market is off to a great start, back again on Friday’s from 4-7pm at Two Rivers Mansion.  This is a volunteer-driven market, so if you, your neighborhood, or community organization can help, please see the flyer below for details to contact Hip Donelson and help keep this the wonderful market that it is.

Hip D Market Flyer

Hip D Market Volunteers

The Donelson Lion’s Club will host a Community Shred & Medication Disposal event on Saturday, June 4th from 9am-12pm at the Tennessee School for the Blind.  See flyer below for details.

Lions Club Tennessee School for the Blind

Metro Parks’ popular Wave Country opens this Memorial Day weekend. Wave Country, located at 2320 Two Rivers Parkway, will open at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 28. The city’s first wave-action pool will be open six days a week through August 6.  Here’s the schedule for 2022.

  • Tuesday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Closed June 17 and will operate only on weekends after August 6th.

Visitors have access to two water flumes, two speed slides, and one kiddie slide. There’s even a kiddie pool with water-dropping features and a children’s playground. Admission includes floats while they last. Children must be 48 inches tall to ride the flume and speed slides. Several fast-food concessions are available but visitors and welcome to bring their own food, chairs, and pop-up tents.  Glass containers and alcohol are not permitted. Bags and coolers will be checked upon entry. The Super Umbrella areas are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is $12.00 for adults (13 years and older); $10.00 for minors (3 to 12 years old); and, children (2 years of age or under) are admitted free. Children 12 years of age or under must be accompanied by a paying adult.

The road that runs behind McGavock High School has never had a real name.  It is highly travelled and as it’s the entrance to Two Rivers Golf Course, Two Rivers Dog Park and McGavock High School, it could use its own name to assist with mapping systems and emergency services.  I worked with Metro Parks and Nashville DOT on this, and we will name it Two Rivers Lane.  It will soon have its own street signs.  I’m also working traffic calming speed cushions as drivers travel at fast speeds and it’s a narrow street with many pedestrians around.

If you live on Donelsonwood Drive or Fitzgerald Drive, I will be coming in a week or two going door-to-door to speak with neighbors about traffic calming speed cushions.  The 100-unit townhome development on Lebanon Pike next door did not require a zone change, so I didn’t have any opportunity to engage neighbors and control it more.  However, the developer, Legacy Homes, has agreed to pay for speed cushions as there will be an entrance to their development through Fitzgerald Drive and I want to deter speeders cutting through.  The installation requires the permission from neighbors, so I will be coming around with more information and a petition to sign if you support this.  Please reach out with any questions and please spread the word to any neighbors you know that live on these two streets.

For the past eight years, Aspen Dental offices across the country have opened their doors on the annual Day of Service, to provide free dental care to veterans. Aspen Dental created the Healthy Mouth Movement to help ensure our veterans get the care they need. The Aspen Dental Day of Service will take place this year on June 11, 2022. Since 2014, the Healthy Mouth Movement has provided over $23 million in donated dentistry to more than 30,000 patients in need.

I continue to attend regular meetings as our new Donelson Branch Library and am very pleased to report that construction is scheduled to start in August.  Fencing should go around the area towards the end of June or July.  We’re finally there!

As always, reach out if I can be service.  Jeff.Syracuse@Nashville.gov and 615-886-9906.

Best,

jeff syracuse

Donelson Council News, Jeff Syracuse, Pennington Bend

United Way File Free Taxes

Trash Pickup Update, Development Community Meeting, Traffic Calming and More

After weeks of a new low in performance by our trash contractor, Red River, things are finally improving after hiring another contractor to begin picking up routes to coincide with Metro picking up a few other routes that should allow Red River to be able to handle the remainder.

As many have heard, Red River filed bankruptcy last October and so they are afforded protections under the law.  Metro has legal counsel in Dallas aggressively representing our interests.

Red River’s contract began in 2004 and while it worked OK for some years, their poor management, inability to keep up with our growth, and failure overcome equipment, truck, and personnel challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic is why we find ourselves in this continued frustrating and untenable situation.

As many will recall, I filed a resolution last year calling for the end of the contract with Red River.  That prompted some structural changes to the contract, which made the situation better for some months afterwards, but Red River’s internal problems have only become worse, and they are spiraling downwards.

What Metro has learned is we can never allow one company to be responsible for so large of an area.  What we are trying to avoid is extremely expensive emergency contracts if Red River completely folds.  That would cost us millions of dollars.  That is why we temporarily diverted resources from recycling to trash pick-up.  We continue advocating to the bankruptcy court to allow us to modify the contract so that we can continue to make logistical changes as needed.  We are also beholden to the pandemic related supply chain logistical issues in that we cannot secure trucks and equipment fast enough.

Please continue to file a Hub Nashville request via website, phone app or by calling 311.  This continues to help us substantiate Red River’s failure and poor performance.

Please make plans to attend a virtual community meeting about a development proposal about 2001 Lebanon Pike on Monday, March 14th at 6:30pm.  The proposal is a residential development with about 90 townhomes on the 12-acre site.  The zone change request is to go to a “Specific Plan (SP)”, which would control the elements of the proposal.  It is envisioned as 85% brick/mortar and all for-sale product, no rental.  The historic home on the property will be saved and reinvested in to likely become an office.  Please join the meeting virtually at the link below as the engineer, Roy Dale, presents the proposal.  No formal rezoning has begun as we will have this community meeting first.  Join Zoom Meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8343340820

In a recent prior newsletter, I went into detail about how the redistricting process impacted our local Metro Nashville-Davidson County districts.  Remember you can always check out past editions of my newsletters by going to e-News Archive on my website.

The State and Federal redistricting process was of course a much more contentious, partisan process.  Here is a good website that covers the changes and impacts to us.  It’s important to take note of any changes to your household that affects the Federal and State elections. 

We have important elections coming up May 3rd.  Please get to know these candidates!  The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is March 15th.  Please visit the Davidson County Election Commission to view all information, including how to update your voter registration if need be.  I will be sharing my endorsements in a subsequent newsletter.  I will share that I am endorsing Dr. Berthena Nabaa-McKinney as our next District 4 School Board Member.  She is an extraordinary neighbor, passionate and dedicated community leader and has a very impressive academic and professional resume.  I encourage you to support “Dr. B” and get to know her.

Using United Way’s VITA free tax prep program, IRS-certified preparers will file your taxes safely and accurately at no cost.  Families with household income below $70,000 are eligible for both in-person and Virtual VITA across Middle Tennessee.  A no-cost, do-it-yourself version is available for taxpayers at any income level.  Visit the United Way’s VITA website or call 211 to get started.

United Way File Free Taxes

Metro Council extended the relief program administered by the United Way to assist with help covering rent, utilities, or mortgage through 2023.  Please visit this website to learn about the programs that are available.

MNPS is recruiting community members to volunteer as tutors and work one-on-one with Metro Schools’ students who need a little extra help in reading or math. With a commitment of 90 minutes a week, you can help accelerate a child’s learning progress and lay a foundation for future success.  Though most students can benefit from tutoring, Accelerating Scholars is currently focused on students in most need of support as determined by school personnel based on individual assessments in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade literacy and 8th and 9th grade math.  As our community continues to respond to and recover from the challenges created by the pandemic, MNPS is working with PENCIL, Vanderbilt’s Tutor Nashville, and many other organizations to expand the successful high-impact tutoring program for even more students. MNPS is working to pair tutors with elementary school students who need reading help or with middle school and high school students who need support as they learn math. 

The city’s youth summer employment initiative, formerly known as Opportunity Now is now the POWER Youth Summer Employment Initiative. 

The summer youth employment portal is open with more than 700 work experience and employment opportunities for Davidson County youth and young adults ages 14-24.

The youth opportunities are coordinated by age-appropriate groupings.  

  • Experience Work/project-based experiences (14 and 15 years old)
  • High School Internships (16-19 years old)
  • Direct Hire and External Postings (18-24 years old)

Applicants must have a Davidson County address and apply by April 8.  All positions will begin the first week of June and end in mid-July for youth ages 14-19.  The direct hire and external positions are year-round.  To apply, youth visit Metro Action’s POWER Youth portal on the Metro Action Webpage for the complete listing of opportunities.  Youth and Young adults will receive pay for their summer work experiences.  The summer employment initiative is a part of the Metropolitan Action Commission’s expanded opportunities for youth and young adults of Nashville and Davidson County.  For more information about the agency’s POWER Youth Program email the POWER Youth team at poweryouth@nashville.gov or 615-862-8860.

The Power of Youth Summer Employment Portal

What is it like to visit a Metro Parks community center?  How convenient is the checkout service at Nashville Public Library? How easy is it to catch a WeGo bus?  Mayor John Cooper and Metro Nashville’s departments are looking for those answers and more as they deploy community-wide customer experience surveys, which are open now.  “Like any enterprise must do, Metro government is reaching out to our customers – asking the people we serve to help identify how we can deliver better and more efficiently,” Mayor Cooper said. “As any successful small business or company must, city government will continue to earn our customers’ confidence – and that starts with asking for their feedback and ideas.”  Surveys take two minutes or less to complete; go to hubNashville to participate.

Lakeland Dr / Emery Dr and Lincoya Hills were selected for this round of Traffic Calming.  Visit the website here to see the design plan for Lakeland / Emery.  Lincoya Hills just had their first community meeting, and the design is still forthcoming.  If you live on this stretch of Lakeland or Emery and you haven’t signed the petition to allow the traffic calming elements to be installed, please contact me and I can connect you with neighbors leading the process.  If you live in Lincoya Hills, please contact Jenny White at jennywhite@comcast.net to engage in their process.  Merry Oaks traffic calming elements still require signatures to proceed with installation.  At the site above, you’ll also see the Merry Oaks design plan that was approved a couple years ago.  If you live on those stretches where traffic calming will be installed and haven’t signed, please contact me and I’ll assist with that.

The Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble is a board I serve on and is led by Donelson’s own Rich Ripani.  He has led the creation of an extraordinary organization providing opportunities for kids to shine in performing jazz.  Below is the poster for NYJE Jazz Fest 2022 in Hendersonville. 

NYJE Jazz Fest 2022 in Hendersonville

I close this newsletter sharing an Op Ed that I wrote and was published by the Tennessean.  I have growing concerns about our sustainability as “Music City”.  Our local independent music venues are all in danger with development pressure around them, some are moving towards corporatization, and as Nashville becomes less and less affordable, the working creatives in this city are being forced to leave for more affordable cities.  In this digital age, creatives, especially songwriters, can work from just about anywhere.  It’s an issue that is critical to future of our city’s dominance as a global capital of music and one I’ve been focused like a laser on.

Best,

jeff syracuse

Donelson Council News, Hub Nashville, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, United Way File Free

Hermitage Tree Lighting

The Holidays are here with Tree Lightings, Parade, and Finally the Unveil of our new Donelson Branch Library

Dear Friends,

The Holiday Season is here and there is much to be thankful for and celebrate.  I hope you and your families and friends enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Here are some events coming up to put on your calendars:

  • The Donelson Hermitage Neighborhood Alliance has put together the 1st Annual Hermitage Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 2nd. 5:30pm decorating, 6pm tree lighting. It’ll be at the Hermitage Library.  See flyer below.

Hermitage Tree Lighting

  • The 36th Annual Donelson Hermitage Chamber Christmas Parade will be on Saturday, December 4th at 2pm. It’ll be on the same route it’s been for several years along Donelson Pike from Elm Hill Pike to Donelson Station, so pick a good spot anywhere on either side of the street on the sidewalk. For all information, street closure information, application to enter a float and more, visit https://www.donelsonhermitagechamber.com/christmas-parade/.
  • Yoga Muttz Movement Lounge in Donelson Plaza has organized a Winter Fest on Saturday, December 4th from Noon – 5pm with 30+ vendors, food truck, pictures with Santa, adoptable pets and more. It’ll be in the green / civic space in front of the future library. See flyer below.

Winter Fest

  • The Donelson Christmas Tree Lighting will be a great event starting at 4pm just after the Christmas Parade is wrapping up. Come a little early to help decorate the tree. There’ll be plenty of things to enjoy at the event, including:

Donelson Christmas Tree Lighting

  • The Stones River Woman’s Club returns with their Christmas Open House at Two Rivers Mansion on Saturday December 4th and Sunday, December 5th. Enjoy a bake sale, refreshments, a Christmas Shop to buy gifts and more. See flyer below for details.

Two Rivers Mansion Open House

The status of the emissions program has been a recent hot topic.  The bottom line is this program will be ended as we know it.  At the Council meeting on November 16th, we deferred the resolution to end the program until January 4th, but regardless of whether we passed the resolution that night or on January 4th, the termination date of January 14, 2022 will likely still be the same.  We allowed the Health Department to research a few things first, including likely upcoming stricter EPA regulations of emissions and to look at alternative methods for monitoring emissions, but the EPA approved a revision to remove the vehicle emissions testing program from Tennessee’s air quality plan this past August and the program is ending in Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties.  Thus, I’m comfortable ending the program here in Davidson County as well, but I was fine with deferring one time to allow our Health Dept to return with a report before officially ending it.  I know none of us are happy with the long lines because of the labor shortage we’re experiencing, but it’s also time to reevaluate the efficacy of the program as less than 10% of all the cars tested fail and cars are only improving in efficiency and reduced emissions with greater hybrid and electric cars coming in greater numbers.

You may have seen the recent WKRN news story from Julia Palazzo regarding the unsafe intersection at Old Lebanon Pike / Lebanon Pike.  I was sad to learn of another pedestrian death trying to cross in this area.  It’s not safe for pedestrians or vehicles and it’s time for a formal study to assess our infrastructure in the core of Downtown Donelson and determine what improvements could be feasibly made.  I have a Capital Improvement Budget request to perform such a study and a consultant should be hired in a few months.  We need to ensure infrastructure is not an after-thought.  More information on this in the months ahead.

JVI Secret Garden will have a special addition to their unique Christmas experience this year.  When you go to buy a tree, wreath, plant, or decoration, donate $3 or more to The Donelson Gateway Project and receive a s’more to enjoy by the fire.  Thank you for supporting your local community beautification effort!

JVI Secret Gardens

The Donelson Gateway Project (https://www.donelsongateway.org/) has continued to make a big impact for Donelson, both with beautified physical and figurative gateways into the community. Entranceways, schools, and more areas have been invested in and it’s thanks to your donations and volunteerism to make these projects happen. DGP is a non-profit that is in need of your support as the needs begin to outweigh our resources, which is why I’m highlighting this in my newsletter here. As we approach “Giving Tuesday (https://www.givingtuesday.org/) ”, we hope you’ll consider a tax-deductible contribution towards this wonderful small non-profit that does great things to make Donelson inviting and beautiful for all.

Donelson Gateway Project

Phat Bites is hosting an Open Mic for Young Musicians on Saturdays from 3-5pm.  It’s open to any young solo instrumentalist or vocalist.  Slots must be reserved.  Contact Suzanne at suzannepianolady@gmail.com to reserve a spot or for more information.  See flyer below.

Phat Bites Open Mic

Best,

jeff syracuse

Donelson Christmas Parade, Donelson Council News

Metro Arts

Two Rivers Mansion Event Center, Metro Arts “Call To Artists” for New Donelson Library and Redistricting Update

Dear Friends,

Good news to share and important updates this newsletter.  First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. AsafeNashville.org continues to be Metro’s information site for COVID-19 testing and vaccines. Here’s a great PSA from the TN Council for Development Disabilities featuring our State Representative Darren Jernigan and State Representative Sam Whitson supporting everyone to get vaccinated. It’s the fastest way to end this pandemic.

A major piece of good news is for Two Rivers Mansion’s 14-acre property and all our community. The long-awaited event center, to be located behind the mansion, was funded in Mayor Cooper’s recently released Capital Spending Plan. The Master Plan that Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation, Metro Nashville Historical Commission and the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion put together several years ago to support its preservation and advancement identified an event center as a needed investment to capitalize on the success of the total renovation at the mansion and renewed interest and excitement in hosting events there. This will help keep the mansion preserved while being able to host larger events that also will be a larger revenue generator. This has been a priority project of mine since I’ve been in office and this investment will be transformational for the property and the future of the Friends of Two Rivers Mansion. Stay tuned for more details to come.

There is a website dedicated to explaining the required redistricting process we’re going through. Visit it here.  Every 10 years, after the U.S. Census, Metro Nashville must re-establish the boundaries for Metro Council and School Board districts. The new districts must be balanced in population and follow traditional redistricting criteria, in conformance with federal, state, and local rules. The Metro Charter assigns responsibility for redistricting to the Planning Commission, which makes its recommendation to the Metro Council for adoption. Draft maps have been released on the website and you’ll notice the 15th District will likely move our borders both further West and East. Here’s the highlights:

  • Our northern border (the Cumberland River) and southern border (I-40) are both mostly staying the same. We currently have a small section of 37217 south of I-40 along Spence Lane and the northern part of Murfreesboro Pike east of Spence Ln. The 37217 section will likely go to the 16th District and the 15th will extend its southern border along I-40/I-24 to the overpass where they split.
  • The Western border shifts almost to downtown. There isn’t any additional population picked up with this expansion, but it does put City Side in a contiguous district.
  • The Eastern border shifts to a cleaner line between 14th and 15th District along Stewart’s Ferry Pike. Both CM Rhoten and I agree this is a better line and keeps Cloverhill in one district, as opposed to being split between two currently.

I’m comfortable with this first draft as it relates to the proposed changes to our district, but there is time to submit your comments via the website. From a broader perspective, the data and this draft shows where the population has grown across the county, areas that haven’t grown as quickly, where gentrification has occurred the most, and much more. You can also view the proposed changes to the school board districts.

More good news of new restaurants and eateries coming to Donelson. Edley’s announced they will build their largest location at 2717 Lebanon Pike in the totally renovated building owned by Kurzynske & Associates. Also, in this shopping center will be Yeast Nashville, a wonderful bakery. Both these developments will occur sometime in the first part of 2022.

I am excited that our Metro Nashville Office of Arts + Culture has launched a Call to Artists for the two public art projects that will be located at the new Nashville Public Library Donelson Branch. See the graphic below about these two wonderful opportunities for local and national artists. For more information and the application, visit here.

The library project team has been working hard on finalizing the design of our new library and we are close to an unveiling. Stay tuned for more details to come in the weeks ahead.

Metro Arts

The next sidewalk project that should start for our district is the Old Lebanon Pike project, east of JB Estille Rd to Lebanon Pike. This was funded a few years ago and glad to see this important connection move forward. It’s currently out to bid and the contractor should be selected early next year, and the project should start and end in 2022, if all goes smoothly. This project should create a mid-block crossing for McNamara’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, like how Party Fowl has on the other end of Old Lebanon Pike to make crossing the road safer from their additional parking area. Remember the Sidewalk Tracker is a good resource to track projects.

Through the hard work of Neighborhood Planting Captains Jenny White in Lincoya Hills, Marie Anderson in Maplecrest, and Erin Duvall in Maplecrest working to recruit neighbors for trees in the district, Lincoya Hills is receiving 55 trees and Maplecrest received 76 trees. All 131 trees were delivered to the recipients’ yards during the week of October 11. Most recipients opted to plant their own trees, and Root Nashville staff assisted those who requested help. In March 2022, additional neighborhood trees will also be coming to Merry Oaks through the efforts of onboarding Neighborhood Planting Captain Esmeralda Figueras, an AmeriCorps service member.

Checkout the “Homegrown Origin Story: The First 5 Years” a recently created retrospect on a beloved Donelson hangout. Big thanks to Robin Davis, Jennifer Starks and team for bringing this wonderful taproom and restaurant to our community. The video was beautifully done, and I was honored to be among the neighbors interviewed for it.

There is a great project coming from The Donelson Gateway Project and neighbors in Elm Hill Acres.  Thanks to the leadership of Elm Hill Acres’ neighbor Rick Haley, he designed the below improvement to the end of the Briley Parkway south ramp at Elm Hill Pike near the entrance to Elm Hill Acres. This site has been a persistent problem aggressive panhandlers and drug use. With help from TDOT, the area has been cleaned up and this project will keep the area beautiful and welcoming. If you’d like to support this project, The Donelson Gateway Project is a 501c3 and donations are tax deductible.  To donate, please contact Rick Haley at elmhillacres@gmail.com or via Venmo at @Rick-Haley (last 4 digits of phone number is 5061 for verification). A tax letter will be provided to you for tax write-off purposes.

Elm Hill Briley Pkwy S Exit - Before

Elm Hill Briley Pkwy S Exit - After

MDHA is now accepting applications for its Home Repair Programs and Weatherization Assistance Program from qualifying Davidson County residents. For more information, including the application, qualifications, and eligible projects, visit their website and see the below fliers for more information.

MDHA 1

MDHA 2

As many have heard, NES is creating a program called Power of Change to support the Home Uplift program, providing weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades to homeowners who need it most. You most opt OUT of this program if you choose. Everyone is opted in as it rolls out in January 2022. See this link here for more information on eligibility and how to opt out.

The Donelson Hermitage Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual Holiday Market at the Mansion at Two Rivers Mansion on November 19th and 20th. See flyer below for details.

Holiday Market at The Mansion

 

Best,

jeff syracuse

Donelson Council News, Donelson Library, Edley's Bar-B-Que, Two Rivers Mansion

Ravenwood Pavilion Rendering Donelson TN

Ravenwood Regional Park Ribbon Cutting, Litter Clean-Up and Two Legislative Successes

Dear Friends,

Ravenwood Pavilion Rendering Donelson TNI look forward to joining Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation and Kevin Rhoten – Metro Council District 14 for a groundbreaking ceremony for Ravenwood Regional Park on August 20, Friday, 10:00 a.m. at the construction site of the park. The park will transform 800 acres of farmland near the historic landmark Stone Hall into a space for recreation, hiking, play, kids’ activities, and a quiet ambiance.

“Ravenwood Park is located only a few miles from downtown Nashville. It will fill a notable void in the area by providing vital recreational opportunities to the residents of Donelson and Hermitage as well as others across the county,” said Monique Horton Odom, Director of Metro Parks. The project is in the early stages of development. Phase One of the project includes demolition, earthwork, paving, landscaping, and site utilities. It will also involve the construction of an entry road, greenway and trails, parking lot, playground, large pavilion, sports court and fitness equipment, sidewalks, and open lawn.

Ravenwood Park, uniquely surrounded by almost four miles of highly scenic river frontage, is tucked off Lebanon Road between the Donelson and Hermitage neighborhoods in a large bend of the Stones River just south of the confluence of the Stones River and the Cumberland River. The area expands into beautiful natural vistas and has a rich history.

The Stones River greenway currently runs along the edge of the site connecting this large park to Shelby Bottoms to the west and the Percy Priest Dam to the east. Stone Hall, the local historic landmark known as the Donelson Home, was acquired in 2007 and sits at the front of the site along Lebanon Pike.

Former Mayor David Briley, State Representative Darren Jernigan, and Jeff Syracuse, Metro Councilmember District 15, Erin Evans, Metro Councilmember District 12, and Russ Bradford Metro Councilmember, District 13 will be in attendance at the ceremony.

WHO: Metro Parks and Council Member Kevin Rhoten (District 14).

WHAT: Groundbreaking Ceremony to kickoff Phase One construction of Ravenwood Regional Park.

WHEN: August 20, Friday, 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Ravenwood Park, 3401 Central Pike, Hermitage, TN 37076.

DIRECTIONS: Take I-40 East to Central Pike. Merge right to Take exit 221A on TN-45 N/The Hermitage to Central Pike. Turn left on to Central Pike and follow it until it ends at the parking lot at Ravenwood Regional Park.

Welcome to Donelson, Hands On Nashville! I’m thrilled they found a new home here in the 15th District. Here’s their latest newsletter where they could use some helping hands with the move. Hands On Nashville does extraordinary things for all of us, so if you’re able to lend a helping hand, please click on the newsletter below and sign up.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has approved a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for those who are immunocompromised. The Metro Nashville Public Health Department anticipates receiving the list of the immunocompromised conditions that would be eligible to receive the 3rd dose from as early as Monday. Once MPHD has the guidance we will share it with Meharry Medical College and they will begin providing the third dose at Metro’s drive-thru site located on Murfreesboro Pike. At that point MPHD will also offer the vaccine at their scheduled pop up events. To find the calendar visit the website here (https://www.asafenashville.org) . MPHD will ONLY be offering boosters for those who meet the criteria as established by the ACIP. MPHD also encourages those eligible for the 3rd dose to check with the closest pharmacy, grocery location, or walk-in clinic to find the vaccine at the most convenient location.

The Donelson Hermitage Neighborhood Association will hold a “State of Donelson Hermitage” with area elected officials. Note that this will be held at the Hermitage Precinct and so masks will be required. See flyer below for details.

State of Donelson Hermitage on August 19, 2021

The Donelson Hermitage Neighborhood Association is sponsoring litter clean-ups in our area’s districts. Ours is Sat, August 21 at 8am. Meet at The Crossings Shopping Center where Publix is. Thanks in advance for your help keeping our community clean and beautiful!

I worked on two pieces of legislation for the last couple of years that have finally moved forward. The first was when I was Chair of Parks, Library and Arts when the NFL Draft came to town and the cherry tree incident occurred. That was a combination of poor communication, unclear and inconsistent policy across multiple departments where urban forestry is managed, and lack of community engagement. I pledged to strengthen our policies in regards to managing trees on public property and this bill is the result. I’ve learned a great deal and thank the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps for their focused and knowledgeable leadership in helping craft this bill.

We have dedicated and passionate tree advocates in our Metro departments and this bill codifies the Executive Order that began under Mayor Megan Barry after the widespread clearing of trees at Fort Negley. This bill helps to ensure our policies across departments are consistent, transparent, engaging with community advocates and helps highlight the strong work being done internal to Metro departments and applies data-driven results to ensure we have a healthy and robust urban tree canopy on public property.

We all win when we work together and this bill has taken some time to engage all stakeholders, inside and outside of government. As mentioned below, seeing the widespread destruction of our mature and healthy trees due to the tornado of March 2020 strengthened my resolve to get this right. It’s an ever evolving landscape as we ensure sustainability initiatives are core to our long term success as we continue to develop and grow at a rapid pace. I’m very proud of this work and am again very thankful to the NTCC and all our Metro employees, especially Rebecca Dohn in Metro Water Services, who all worked closely together on this effort. Read the bill here

The second legislative effort passed on August 3rd and supports historic preservation. So many times we hear from neighbors about why we can’t do anything to help save our cultural and historic treasures yet we offer incentives to large out of state corporations. This legislation enacts a State program for Metro to create a tax abatement program to incentivize investment in historic properties and will not dip into our budgeted revenue and only abate the . This is the only program available to local municipalities by the State legislature. This program does many things, including encouraging the local designation and therefore the long-term preservation of historic buildings and sites, provides a financial incentive to rehabilitate existing property where zoning allows for a greater financial return to demolish and develop new, designed to improve neighborhoods and increase the value of properties that might otherwise be demolished or remain vacant, encourages rehab over replacement new construction, which has multiple benefits to the growth of a municipality. Rehab of existing buildings is more likely to add to the affordable/accessible housing pool and more likely to serve new and small businesses than new construction. Rehab is more environmentally sustainable than new construction as it retains embodied energy and keeps valuable building materials out of the landfill. In Metro Nashville, 23% of the waste we send to landfill is created from construction and demolition waste. When landfilled, this material can create greenhouse gases. Reduces the cost of living or the cost of doing business for a temporary period of time and stimulates the economy by encouraging rehabilitation. Rehab keeps more money and jobs local than new construction. This same activity improves property and communities, which means higher property tax revenue for the city once abatements expires. It encourages continued development within established areas with existing infrastructure rather than encouraging sprawl. To read the bill and about the program guidelines (found as the Exhibit link in the legislation), click here.

I have been working on a number of developments with neighbors around them and will have a more comprehensive update on all of them in a subsequent newsletter. Donelson Plaza’s phase two has commenced. Stay up to date at www.donelsonplaza.com at the Updates section for details. The project team for the new library continue to work hard and hope to have details to share in the next couple of months.

Every ten years after the U.S. Census is complete, Metro Nashville must review and analyze the data to ensure districts are balanced in population through a process known as redistricting. The process for Nashville is overseen by the Metro Nashville Planning Department, who launched a new website this week aimed at educating and engaging the community. The website, redistrict.nashville.gov (https://redistrict.nashville.gov/) , includes a survey, a timeline of the process, frequently asked questions, and a map of how council and school board districts have changed as Nashville has grown.

Metro Planning is beginning community engagement before receiving updated population totals from the U.S. Census Bureau to give the community time to learn about the process. However, Metro Planning will not begin preparing new district lines until that data is available. It’s important to note, these recommendations will only pertain to Metro Council and Metro School Board districts and will not impact school attendance zones or State or Federal representations. Residents are encouraged to take the survey now. There will also be opportunities to participated in public workshops later this fall. Metro Planning will continue to work with Metro Council and Metro School Board members to help keep communities informed on the process, as well as share public engagement events.

Best,

jeff syracuse

Donelson Council News

Donelson Plaza Palooza

Donelson Plaza Palooza, Rezoning Community Meeting, Digital Inclusion Survey and Job Fair

Dear Friends,

As the weather warms up and everyone is getting out more after being vaccinated, here’s a great opportunity to enjoy our new green space in front of the new Donelson Library site and support Donelson Plaza businesses. On Saturday, May 22nd from 10am – 3pm, bring your chair or blanket, visit Plaza business booths with special deals and grab a lunch at one of the Plaza businesses while enjoying live music and performances in addition to special programming from our Nashville Library! Plus, the Civic Design Center wants your ideas for the public space in front of the Donelson Library. Visit their “Soundbox” shipping container during the event!

Donelson Plaza Palooza

I will be hosting a community meeting on Thursday, May 13th at 6:30pm via Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8343340820) so the development team can introduce themselves and make a proposal. 2842 Lebanon Pike is proposed as three 2,500 sq ft commercial buildings with five condo buildings at 79 total units. 2850 Lebanon Pike is proposed as five condo buildings at 63 total units. These two are separate filings and would be separate bills, but because they are close together, I wanted to ensure they run together through the process. They are scheduled to be at the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 10th.

Donelson UDO

The Nashville Digital Inclusion and Access Taskforce is seeking input from Metro residents about the digital divide—the growing gap between those who benefit from technology and those who are excluded in the digital age. The Taskforce is led by Dr. Fallon Wilson of Black Tech Futures Research Institute and Dr. Samantha Perez of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. The group aims to collect data to enable Metro Government and local organizations to make data-driven decisions about how they serve the public, particularly those who have low or no Internet access or digital literacy. The survey is one of 21 strategies set forth in Connected Nashville, Metro’s smart city plan, developed by a 76-person working group. Funded by Frist Foundation, Google Fiber and Nashville Public Education Foundation, the survey is conducted collectively by Vanderbilt Peabody, the Digital Inclusion and Access Taskforce, and The Equity Alliance. Results of the survey will be publicly shared with the community and published on the Metro Open Data Portal. Additionally, the Taskforce will issue recommendations to maximize the impact of existing initiatives and resources by targeting work to address areas of greatest need, as identified by the survey. To take the survey, Nashville residents are invited to visit http://bit.do/digequitynash through May 15 (http://bit.do/digequitynash%20through%20May%2015) .

There will be a two-day job fair hosted by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. One of the days will be at Opryland. See flyer below for details.

Job Fair Flyer May 2021

I’m honored to have been asked to be among the faculty of Neighbor 2 Neighbor’s C4N Nashville 2021. I will be participating in the panel discussion, “The Role of a Metro Council Member in Planning and Development.” C4N Nashville is a one-day training and networking event for anybody who wants to make a positive difference in their neighborhood. Choose from 25 workshops, facilitated conversations, panel discussions, and presentations on eight key neighborhood passions.

Please plan to join me virtually at C4N Nashville on Saturday, May 15th. Learn more and register at https://www.n2n.solutions/c4n.

C4N Nashville

Best,

jeff syracuse

Donelson Council News, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15

2021 Reappraisal Packet 1

2021 Reappraisal and Tax Impact, Farmer’s Market 2021 Season, Community Clean Up and More

Dear Friends,

Everyone should be receiving their 2021 reappraisal information in the mail soon if not already.  As you’ll note in the packet in the graphic below, growth has not slowed down, even through the pandemic  Here are two graphics with heat maps that compare the 2013-2017 growth vs the 2017-2021 along with very important information about the reappraisal process, which is mandated by State law.

2021 Reappraisal Packet 1

2021 Reappraisal Packet 2

2021 Reappraisal Packet 3

2021 Reappraisal Packet 4

As you’re probably aware, the State mandates the reappraisal process to be revenue neutral, so as the values go up, the tax rate must come down.  That also means that if you’re above the average countywide reappraisal rate, the impact to your property taxes is that they usually go up.  If you’re below the median increase, they generally go down.  Check out our tax rate compared to Tennessee’s four biggest cities.  You’ll note the impact of the reappraisals over the years.

Property Tax Graph 25 Year 4 Cities

A lot people were understandably upset at the 34% tax increase last year.  It couldn’t have come at a worse time due to pandemic and economic shutdown.  Among the financial issues we have, the biggest one is that we haven’t managed the tax rate well.  If you’ll note on the 25-year tax graph, historically after the appraisal occurs and affects the tax rate to go down, the Mayor and Council will nudge it up nice and easy in the years afterwards to account for growth.  That didn’t happen in 2017 and we were left with an unsustainably low rate.  We hadn’t nudged the rate up since 2012 and should have done that so we wouldn’t have been looking at such a stark increase last year (which was still 30 cents cheaper than it was in 2017).  So, here we are again with an appraisal that shows rapid property value increases, which means the rate will drop back down to historic lows.  Yes, we have issues with overspending and too high of debt, but our overall financial outlook is strong if we can keep our hands tight on the reigns of the tax rate.  We’re still operating with fewer Metro employees than we had in 2003.  We have a lot of work to do to manage growth and ensure it is benefiting everyone.  When you add the impact of the pandemic and the economic shutdown, the trillions of dollars that has come from the federal government assistance to states, cities and local municipalities, we have to be laser focused on stable fiscal management, which means budgeting thinking about the long term and not using federal government assistance to balance our budget.  That would be dangerous as those funds will not be here forever and we need to focus on those funds supporting schools, small business, out of work neighbors and other critical areas so we can get through the pandemic’s impact.  We will get through this together.

The Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market returns for the 10th season at Two Rivers Mansion on Friday, May 7th at 4pm.  This is a treasure of an event for the community and hope you will make plans to support it every Friday through October.

The Donelson Gateway Project needs your help for the annual spring cleanup.  “Many hands make light work”.  Meet at the Briley Pkwy / Lebanon Pk site on Saturday, May 8th at 10am.  We can disperse to other sites as needed.  Thank you for your support of keeping Donelson beautiful!

The Buchanan Family Festival Fish Fry & Flea Market will be May 15th at 11am.  See flyer below for details.

BLH 2021 Festival Flyer

The annual Phil the House with Arts and Friends at Two Rivers Mansion will be on Sunday, May 16th from 1-4pm and will feature the photography of local resident and Friends member Doug Almy.

I’m now fully vaccinated and encourage everyone to do the same so we can get back to opening the city back up 100%, all our kids back in school and put this pandemic behind us.  All COVID19 related info, including how to sign up for vaccine appointments can be found here.

Finally, I will be sending out another newsletter about two rezoning meetings coming up (one for a single family home development at 2600 Pennington Bend Rd and the other for condo developments at 2842 and 2850 Lebanon Pike) plus an exciting community event on Saturday, May 22nd.  So, stay tuned to another newsletter on the heels of this one once I firm up dates and details.

Best,

jeff syracuse

Donelson Council News, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15