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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.


jeff syracuse

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