There will be two more Music at the Mansion events in August and September at Two Rivers Mansion. Saturday, August 27 will feature the 6th Annual Nashville Blues Society show featuring Them Rubies, a fantastic female vocal Americana trio you won’t want to miss. Saturday, September 17 will welcome the return of The Moonlighters big band. Also, don’t forget that tours are available throughout the month of August.
See flyer below for details.
The Buchanan Log House Annual Folk Festival will be Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 10am to 5pm. The festival features the 19th Alabama Civilian Corps Encampment, demonstrators showing quilting, basket weaving, blacksmithing, wood carving and more. Animal demonstrations include sheep, alpacas and goats. Old-Timey Games and Train Rides are provided for the children. Food and drinks are available. Admission and Parking are Free.
Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Buchanan Station Cemetery, funds were raised to install an iron fence around this fundamental historic site for Nashville. Also installed was interpretative signage so visitors can learn about the great importance of the battle that happened there as one of the first settlements of Nashville.
FiftyForward Donelson Station will host their annual Donelson Fall Festival & BBQ on September 23 and 24. This will be the 30th year and is their biggest fundraiser, so don’t miss the festivities and help support the center. Check out their August newsletter here for more information.
The Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market continues to go strong, offering a Friday night experience like no other in Donelson. Thanks to Hip Donelson and all the volunteers who bring this very special weekly event to our community.
Dr. Joseph certainly hit the ground running even before he officially took his new role as Director of Schools. Read about his vision and the “First 100 Days” here. I had the opportunity to meet with him and other community and elected leaders this summer and I look forward to his leadership making a positive impact in all our schools. After that meeting, we then had the opportunity to tour McGavock High School and see the great experiences that the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) and the Nashville Scholars summer program offers. MNPS has also created a new logo and launched a brand new website, which looks great and is easier to navigate. Check it out at www.mnps.org.
Big congratulations to all our Blue Ribbon Teachers, who go through a rigorous selection process. There are only up to 50 teachers throughout all of Davidson County to receive this honor. The teachers recognized from schools in the 15th District and Donelson area are:
Jessica Cola – Two Rivers Middle School
Christian E “Beth” Cyrus – Hickman Elementary
Winston Ly – Margaret Allen Middle Prep
Meaghan Berry – McGavock High School
As reported in my last newsletter, Nashville State Community College began offering classes at McGavock High School recently. That is the beginning of ultimately having a NSCC Campus in the Donelson area. Read about it here. I look forward to helping work towards making this a reality.
Big thanks to members of Donelson Church of Christ for helping spruce up McGavock Elementary’s landscaping. Below are a couple pictures of them in action. DCoC has really showered McGavock Elementary with so much love and I am so thankful for everything they do for these students, teachers and parents!
Welcome to Donelson, Frost-Arnett, which has just moved from downtown to Elm Hill Pike and has added more than 60 new local employees. Read about their move to Donelson and expansion in the Nashville Business Journal article here.
We welcome another new business to Donelson, It’s That Simple Dance & Fitness at 2720 Old Lebanon Pike in the Donelson Plaza. They offer personal training, fitness classes, dance classes, nutritional advice and much more.
Lakeland Pointe is a new residential community in the works from Frank Batson Homes. Located at 410 Donelson Pike, these beautiful homes will be the first of their kind in Donelson and offer many beautiful amenities. Check them out here.
Another new business coming to Donelson is Paper and Ink Arts. They recently purchased a vacant building on Graylynn Drive and are in the process of rehabbing it. Check out their website here and their Facebook page here to keep up with their progress. They also have a local market survey for the community to provide feedback here.
I have been working with Metro Planning and management at Opry Mills to amend the existing zoning code to allow Smith Creek Moonshine Distillery to operate there. This would be a unique amenity at Opry Mills and I welcome the additional entertainment draw being offered. Read about it in The Tennessean’s article here.
We all like to enjoy Percy Priest Lake each summer, but safety needs to always be a foremost concern. Drowning incidents have unfortunately increased this year. Please check out an article here from The Ledger that is a good read about possible causes why. Please be safe!
I am always working to do what I can to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Speeding and pedestrian safety are two big concerns of mine and I do everything I can to work with Public Works in improving our intersections and I’ve begun to implement some formal Traffic Calming measures in neighborhoods. Bluefields implemented them some years back and have reported it has helped. We are moving forward with Donelson Hills, Lincoya Hills, Maplecrest and others as time and resources allow. Thanks to The Donelson News for writing about my efforts.
Big thanks to neighbors in Bluefields for bringing a meal to our police officers at the Hermitage Precinct last month. Our first responders are there for us 24/7 and this act of kindness is sincerely appreciated by the whole community.
On May 16, 2016, which was the 70th anniversary of the Donelson Diary, Bluefields neighbor Vicki Beare launched an online archive of this historic local neighborhood paper. It’s a fascinating read and our neighbors whose families have been here for generations will recognize many of the people and places written in this local paper. Check it out here.
I will freely admit it was hard just to start this next newsletter… Just as the “new normal” began last Fall as your newly elected member of Metro Council, I struggled with another new reality. As many of you already know, my Mom passed away on June 30th after a long battle with a neurological illness, to which even now we never were really able to receive a true diagnosis. It was focused in the mid-brain, an area very difficult to scan, diagnose and treat. It slowly debilitated her over many months to the point she was a quadriplegic. It actually started while I was campaigning last year. I first really noticed her symptoms when Mom & Dad drove up from Atlanta to be with me at my election night party. It was a very difficult Christmas Season for my family and then Mom’s health really started to decline after the first of the year. It was so difficult for me to juggle everything as I had to put family first and be in Atlanta most weekends. I was also surprised and thankful to receive a promotion at work in October that came with a great deal more responsibility. It’s said the Good Lord doesn’t put any more on your plate than you can handle. Well, then I am truly a blessed man because there were times over the past months I just wasn’t sure if I could. The support from family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, Metro government colleagues and so many more was just extraordinary and my words of thanks will never be enough but I will be eternally grateful.
2016 was supposed to be a celebratory year. Mom turned 70 and I turned 40. I know life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it and we are certainly not guaranteed tomorrow, but that was the hope. I will just leave you with this thought about my Mom… If you want to know where my true heart for community comes from, it’s definitely my Mom. I learned many things from my Mom – Faith, Sacrifice, Dedication, Commitment, Selflessness and Love. I’m so proud that Mom got to see me campaign and work hard to get elected. She knew how much I loved being involved in my neighborhood and community and I know she is looking down from above and will continue to encourage, inspire and support me.
While I haven’t been able to attend as many community and neighborhood meetings and events during this time, I have not wavered in my focus and hard work in Donelson. I’ll begin by listing a number of ways for everyone to give input on important areas that are undergoing strategic planning and improvement initiatives. Please take a minute to complete these surveys and ensure Donelson has a strong voice!
As many of you noticed and experienced, we recently had a 60-inch water main project occur on McGavock Pike on both the north and south sides of Lebanon Pike. This was a precursor to an even larger project that I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, but I think important to repeat because it’s going to be a doozy. The project below will probably take as long as a year to complete. It’s a necessary project Metro Water wanted to do before the major flood of May 2010, but most all the available resources went to that clean-up effort and so they are now starting to get to these backlogged projects. CM Kevin Rhoten (District 14) and I will host a community meeting when we get closer to this project happening, but they are still in the process of selecting a contractor, so we don’t have a definitive date yet.
On July 28, the Planning Commission approved a proposal for a 36-unit apartment complex at 1636 Lebanon Pike. This proposal is a rezoning to an SP (Specific Plan) and Metro Planning has done an excellent job working with me and helping guide the developer in many aspects of ensuring it would be a quality development. I had a very good neighborhood meeting with residents of Clovernook. This proposed development does not encroach into the neighborhood, but neighbors gave great feedback on to ensure it is a quality development as it relates to home values as well as storm water run-off issues and traffic impact. It is currently an undeveloped property and I appreciate the owners, developer and architect’s time to listen to neighbors and accommodate some tweaks to the proposal. I believe it will be a great fit for the area and is not a very large development with only up to 36 units. Amenities may include vaulted ceilings and marble countertops and it’s the intent of the developer to make it a long lasting positive impact to the area. After meeting with the neighbors, I was ready to give full approval to move this forward.
The Metro Action Commission has changed their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program so that participants can receive benefits earlier. Read the letter below for more information and click here for application.
With the Zika Virus a big concern, many have asked about mosquito prevention. The Metro Health Department has created a Public Service Announcement video to remind everyone how we can help in our neighborhoods. Visit their website here to view the PSA and get more information.
You may have read news stories about the status of Google Fiber being made available in Nashville such as this story in the Nashville Scene. My intent is to help initiative the roll out of as quickly as possible. AT&T and Comcast have big concerns about the logistics of sharing the poles where their existing service wiring is placed. AT&T has even suggested they may sue the city if the current proposed legislation is passed. I am on the Metro Council Public Works Committee and I am committed to doing everything I can to bring both sides together, avoid any possibility of litigation that would only cost the tax payers and delay roll out of Google Fiber’s service. I am hopeful all sides will work better together. Stay tuned for more info on my Facebook page and in future newsletters.
I am honored to be a co-sponsor of a bill to rehabilitate and restore the steam engine train housed at Centennial Park. The intent is to move it to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum and make it operational once again. It appears to be in great shape, even after so many decades of not being in use. Read about this exciting effort here.
My latest Soul of a City blog features a very talented singer/songwriter/artist and Donelson neighbor, Brennin. He’s worked extremely hard and has earned every success. I hope you enjoy learning more about our neighbor and listening to a selection of his music.
My latest Hearts of the People blog features our one and only 15th District Beautification Commissioner, Naomi Regensburg. Naomi gives so much of her time and talent and truly sets the bar for community service here in Donelson. Whether it’s taking care of our Donelson Gateway Project sites in the heat of summer, coordinating trash and bulk-item pick-ups for us or setting up and working at the Hip Donelson Farmer’s Market, she is constantly serving all of us. Next time you see Naomi at the market or out in the community somewhere, be sure to tell her how thankful and lucky we are to have her as a neighbor and friend.
When it comes to a neighbor here in Donelson that has a true heart for the community that grows bigger with each new Spring season, Naomi Regensburg sets the bar. Much of Donelson’s ongoing beautification efforts can be attributed to Naomi’s leadership and involvement. There are many elements to creating a more vibrant, welcoming and strong community for both business to invest and good neighbors to move to. As we all know, our central business community along Lebanon Pike has a lack of green space and beautification with a great deal of pavement and wires. Naomi’s efforts contribute a great deal to improving that situation and it continues to make a big difference.
Naomi found a passion for landscaping as a teenager. She grew up on a big farm and she helped her father landscape their home. That passion continued to she and husband Ron’s home in Donelson when they moved here in 1965. In 1994, former 15th District Council Member Roy Dale asked Naomi to serve as the 15th District Beautification Commissioner, where she served until 2001. In 2009, Donelson Hills neighbor Virginia Clark encouraged Naomi to get involved in a new group of neighbors from around the community to form Friends of the Library, dedicated to beautifying our Donelson branch library on Lebanon Pike. Since implementing that effort, our library has transformed into a true landscaped showpiece.
Also in 2009, thanks to efforts of Virginia Clark, former 15th District Council Member Phil Claiborne and other neighbors, The Donelson Gateway Project was formed as a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to beautification Donelson’s physical and figurative “gateways” into the community. Naomi has been one of the most consistent and dedicated members of the Board of Directors of the group. In 2010, Councilman Claiborne asked Naomi to return to her role as 15th District Beautification Commissioner where I am very proud to have her continue serving in that capacity today.
When asked about her experience as a district Beautification Commissioner, Naomi says involvement in The Great American Clean-Up and litter pick-up in the community. Visit our local Nashville.gov website here to learn more about litter prevention and being involved in this effort. Naomi says one important trait needed to be successful in serving as a Beautification Commissioner is to be able to organize volunteers and coordinate and leverage strengths of others to make a strong impact in those efforts. Donelson is certainly very fortunate to have Naomi serve in this role and continue to keep Donelson clean and beautiful.
Naomi’s professional career included working for 30-years in the Mortgage Servicing Department for the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. In addition to serving on the Board of The Friends of the Library and as Vice President of the Board of The Donelson Gateway Project, Naomi also serves on the Board of Hip Donelson and has been instrumental in the Merry Oaks Neighborhood Watch. Naomi and Ron have been married almost 54-years. They have three daughters and a grandson. All three daughters graduated from Holy Rosary Academy and Father Ryan High School.
I had a great meeting with a few Google Fiber execs to learn more about the status of the installation and much anticipated roll out of their service. They’ve completed the design of the network and as we’ve seen, have been busy building it. This is a big undertaking! Once complete, the network will include more than 3,200 miles of fiber, enough to stretch from here to Canada and back. They are working hard to make disruption in the neighborhoods to a minimum. They have a 24-7 Construction Inquiry Line at 877-454-6959 if you have any issues. With the underground infrastructure going well, there are a few logistical issues to work through as far as the above ground wiring, but they are making good progress. Sign up here to keep up to date with their progress and as soon as service is available, that’s how to get notified.
Welcome to Village Arts Company in Music Valley at 2416 Music Valley Drive Suite 106! As their website says, “We believe that in order to understand the value of something, you must be able to see, touch and experience it.” Check out this new and unique arts store for “distinctive, hand-crafted arts and more.”
Welcome to TCT Network’s newest office in Nashville. WJFB-TV Channel 44 began operations in August 2015 and they now have production facilities in Music Valley for their inspirational television programming. They can also be found on Comcast Channel 22 and AT&T on Channel 66. I enjoyed attending the ribbon cutting ceremony with State Senator Steve Dickerson and State Representative Bill Beck. To my left in the picture below is Johnny Cash’s sister, Joanne.
Jimmy John’s is officially open at 457 Donelson Pike! Go grab a delicious sandwich and welcome them to the neighborhood.
JVI Secret Gardens at 227 Donelson Pike recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary! They have a great new website packed with information and ability to receive a quote for work. They also specialize in water features for your yard. It’s always a great experience visiting JVI, so go support our local garden store and help make your home and Donelson even more beautiful.
Blues Vintage Guitars has a new home in the heart of Donelson at 212-A McGavock Pike. Thanks to Donelson neighbor and owner Gabe Hernandez for bringing this great guitar shop closer into the neighborhoods. This was my first rezoning project to help make this happen and I’m very happy to see how great the store looks. Check out the website for pictures or better yet stop by and welcome Gabe on his new location.
The success of the restoration, preservation and increased community awareness of The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion continues to receive much deserved recognition. Congratulations on receiving The Commissioner’s Award at the recent Metro Preservation Awards. The picture is Mayor Megan Barry presenting the award to Vice President Marilyn Swing and President Phil Howard.
The Two Rivers Mansion’s popular “Music at the Mansion” summer season is back and once again kicks off the series with the Nashville Symphony! See poster below for all the dates and shows this summer. Come on out and enjoy a great evening of music under the stars.
Don’t forget the Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market is every Friday from May – October, 4-7pm. They have a fantastic website that is always updated with the latest news, events, music and much more. Check out the flyers below, especially about the double SNAP program for those with EBT cards. I look forward to seeing you there.
Congratulations and welcome to Dr. Shawn Joseph, our new Metro Schools Director! Here is a letter from Dr. Joseph and School Board Chair Sharon Gentry:
We are excited to turn the page to a new chapter for Metro Nashville Public Schools. In hiring Dr. Shawn Joseph as our new Director of Schools last Friday, we committed ourselves to cast the shadow of our burden behind us, and re-commit ourselves to ensuring that every child, in every school, in every classroom is at the center of all of our decision-making.
While Dr. Joseph does not officially begin until July 1, we share a deep sense of urgency to get the ball rolling immediately. As a result, we have already set in motion a number of transition efforts that we want to share with you. There will be several announcements over the coming weeks but there are two we wanted to let you know about right away:
Over the next few weeks, the Board of Education and Dr. Joseph will be finalizing the plan for his first 100 days as Director. Simultaneously, Dr. Joseph will form a transition team comprised of district and school leaders, members of the community, and national educational leaders. This team will be charged with advising Dr. Joseph on critical initial steps. This is also an opportunity for Dr. Joseph to begin thoughtfully studying our district from an objective point of view and developing a detailed understanding of the state of our school system.
Dr. Joseph wants to hear from you. We are organizing a series of “listen and learn” sessions throughout the city, including one in each of the nine School Board districts. These are designed to hear from all of our stakeholders – educators, families and the community.We want to know what your hopes, dreams, and expectations are as we work together to chart a new course for the district. We will finalize a schedule for these sessions within the next two weeks and hope you will make it a priority to attend.
We will communicate with you often over the next several weeks as we work to seamlessly transition Dr. Joseph into our community and collaboratively move through a phase of studying, reflecting, planning, and doing. Please know that we want this to be a two-way conversation throughout this process. You can share your thoughts or ideas by emailing DirectorofSchools@mnps.org. We are optimistic that by working together, our best days are ahead of us.
Sharon Gentry, Ed.D.
Chair, Metropolitan Board of Education
Shawn Joseph, Ed.D.
Director of Schools
Between budget season, graduation and year-end activities, it’s a fun and busy time in all our schools in Metro. I recently attended the McGavock High School Annual Band Banquet. It was a real pleasure to be there. It brought back many memories of my very active days participating in my high school band program. Congrats and many thanks to the directors, staff and parents for providing this great experience for the kids. See the pictures from the band banquet here.
Congratulations to the Class of 2016 at McGavock High School! Click here for pictures from The Tennessean of graduation held at Municipal Auditorium.
The Tennessee Board of Regents (which as mentioned in a previous newsletter is moving their headquarters into the Bridgestone Park building this summer) has a long-term goal of securing a Donelson campus for Nashville State Community College. As part of that effort, NSCC will begin offering night-time classes at McGavock High School this Fall. See flyer below for details and visit their website here for more information.
I had the honor of attending the 60th Anniversary celebration for McGavock Elementary and read a proclamation to commemorate the event. It was a very well attended celebration with former and current students, teachers, staff and community members. Current Principal Jason Taylor and former Principal Chris Marzak honored McGavock Elementary’s inaugural Principal Donald Harned (pictured below). I was joined by our District 4 School Board Member Anna Shepherd and MNPS Interim Director Chris Henson.
Stanford Elementary Montessori Design Center will be selecting a new Principal soon. The community is encouraged to participate in a community meeting on Monday, June 6th at 6pm. See the letter about this process from Dr. Joseph here.
Pennington Elementary participated in the Nashville Beautiful Art Contest and 4th grader Alania Hearring and 3rd grader Frank James Williamson had their art work displayed on a Metro Public Works collection truck. Recently the truck was brought to the school for students to view.
Another exciting FY1 budget proposal is $8.1 million for much needed renovations to Pennington Elementary. This is in addition to the $4 million funded prior for needed additional classrooms and other upgrades, which includes:
Addition of eight new classrooms
Install sprinkler system in existing building, (none presently exist)
New fire alarm system
Install walk-in cooler and freezer
Abate asbestos containing materials where encountered
Storm water drainage
New drive lane to facilitate pick-up and drop-off of students removing any stacking from the public streets
Expand Library to current standards
Correct main Entry to be handicap accessible
Additive alternate to install canopy at Main Entry
Create two spaces to support current Exceptional ED program
Associated HVAC, electrical and lighting upgrades to these changes
Replacement of existing windows with new energy efficient windows
Asbestos remediation with the removal of the old windows and transite panels when the new windows are installed
New Sealant throughout as needed (caulking)
Replacement of existing HVAC systems with new energy efficient HVAC system
Limited concrete block and brick repair associated with this construction
Replacement of existing plumbing fixtures with new low water use fixtures
Replacement of outdated electrical system
Additional fire alarm and sprinkler upgrades
IT network upgrade
New furniture throughout
Dining room enhancements
New ceilings in selected locations
New finishes including replacement of all floor tiles including Asbestos tile and mastic throughout
New doors and hardware where needed
The proposed $8.1 million includes the following additional renovations:
Finally, I also had the opportunity to be at the 8th Grade Promotion at Two Rivers Middle Prep. It was a job well done by all students, teachers, staff and parents!
A couple neighborhoods in Donelson have taken advantage of Metro Public Works Traffic Calming Program. My neighborhood, Donelson Hills, has been in discussions with them for many months. We finally will receive signage at our three entranceways and a few other elements to hopefully encourage those driving through the neighborhood to slow down. I’ve been hearing from many neighbors across Donelson in the months since election. Recently, I put a post out on Hip Donelson asking for input about traffic issues in neighborhoods. With about 200 responses, I compiled the information with the emails I’ve received. The major responses came from Lincoya Hills, Maplecrest and Woodberry Park and a few other specific streets where issues are consistent. I will be making an effort to work with the neighborhood leadership and the Traffic Calming program to see if we can help make our neighborhood streets safer.
Nashville Fire Department recently created a great smoke alarm informational video. Check it out here. Please watch and share and be sure your smoke alarms are working with fresh batteries! NFD offers smoke detectors for free to Davidson County residents.
The “Bridging Two Rivers” Art Project as part of the Metro Arts Commission THRIVE program is finally here! Thanks to Dante Bard and Troy Duff for their work engaging the community and getting input on what this mural along the Stones River Greenway should include. Their murals are located on the walls leading towards the tunnel before you go under Briley Parkway. Take a bike or walk on the Greenway to check it out. They did an incredible job! The THRIVE program gives paid opportunities to artists to create public art. I’ve always envisioned an art project along the Greenway in this area and am very thankful to Jen Cole, Rebecca Berrios and the rest of the Arts Commission staff for their work to make this happen.
Another THRIVE project that occurred recently in our community was awarded to playwright Carolyn German to work with McKendree Village, the Donelson Branch Library and Fifty Forward Donelson Station to coordinate opportunities for seniors to come together and share their stories. Carolyn recorded their stories, transcribed them and then used them to develop a theatrical performance of “Voices Unwavering: Bold Stories and Life Lessons from Seniors of Donelson and Hermitage” as a collection of stories honed specifically for performance for a live audience. The work created highlighted the universality of the human experience that is evidenced through their unique stories. Additionally, the work provided an inter-generational connection by bridging the experiences of the seniors interviewed with youth and adults in the audience. Professional actors presented the work between recently in those three locations. Congratulations and thank you, Carolyn!
Former Metro Councilman Rod Williams is a HUD-approved housing counselor that helps people struggling with their house payments to get back on track and helps turn difficult situations around. He’s asked Council Members to help get the word out about a program that could help many that is unfortunately ending soon. There is a Making Home Affordable (MHA) program that is winding down and it can help struggling homeowners with various options, including possible principal reduction. Rod has been helping home owners for many years and has great experience in this area. If you or someone you know is struggling with making your mortgage payments, call Rod at 615-850-3453.