February Update

February 1, 2016

Nashville Reads — Once again, the Nashville Public Library is sponsoring Nashville Reads, a city-wide book club. This year’s book is The Color of Water, the parallel stories of James McBride, one of twelve siblings in the all-black housing projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn, the son of a black minister and of his Jewish mother who would not admit she was white. Around his mother’s narrative, McBride has written a powerful portrait of growing up, a meditation on race and identity, and a poignant, beautifully crafted hymn from a son to his mother. Start reading now to be ready to participate in a local book discussion in March at Bongo Java. More information is available here.

Belmont Community Day will be February 10. As a show of gratitude to its neighbors in Metro Council Districts 17, 18 and 19, Belmont University welcomes the community for complimentary supper and tickets to watch the men’s basketball team play Jacksonville State. Children can enjoy a balloon artist and face painting, as well as meeting Bruiser and the Belmont cheerleaders. Hot dogs served at 6pm with tipoff at 7pm. Reserve your spot here or call 615-460-2255

Kroger Grand Reopening — The long awaited 21st Avenue Kroger Grand Reopening happens Wednesday, February 17. The store will open at 7am with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9am. The first 300 customers will receive a FREE package of Simple Truth boneless chicken breasts. There will be samples throughout the store.

The Metro Budget Process has begun with the Mayor’s office meeting with each department to hear their proposed department budgets for the year. This is the ideal time to work to influence Metro’s spending priorities. My goals for this upcoming year are to continue sidewalk construction at its newly accelerated level, to increase recycling, and to create a dedicated funding source for the Barnes Affordable Housing Fund. If those issues are important to you, please contact the Public Works department and the Mayor’s office and ask for their support for increased recycling and at least $26 million in sidewalk funding. If you have other issues you think we should be advocating for, please let me know.

The Jenkins – The Belmont and Blair project has begun construction. This will be 15 brownstone type town homes designed by local architect Michael Ward. It will be named The Jenkins after the late Jenkins Hardin, who was instrumental in creating the project in a way that improves that corner and works with the neighbors.

Village 21 — The Regions Bank project, officially known as Village 21 is well underway. GBT Realty held a community meeting to answer neighbors’ questions about the construction process and the final product. They expect blasting to continue through June generally at 9am, 1pm, and 3pm. The project is expected to be completed in July 2017 and will include 101 apartment units, 10,000 square feet of retail, a renovated Regions Bank, and a free-standing restaurant on the corner. We are working to get the sidewalk reopened on 21st Avenue.

Other development items in the district include the Bosco’s property and the Belcourt Nursing Home in Hillsboro Village. Both have changed hands recently, and I am working with the developers to determine what their plans are for each site.

Affordable Housing Update — The Planning Commission has presented the Metro Council with two bills that would provide incentives for including affordably priced units in new residential projects. Because of the tight time frame that the Planning Department was given to develop this legislation, the Planning Commission has recommended deferring the bill to allow more time for input. As the Council’s representative on the Planning Commission, I am the lead sponsor on this bill. I will be working with co-sponsors Fabian Bedne and Bob Mendes to bring together council members, planning staff, housing advocates, and developers to make further revisions before bringing the bill back before the Council in April to consider. Please click here to learn more about the proposed legislation and send me your feedback. Housing affordability, gentrification, and displacement of long-time residents emerged as the number one topic of concern during the NashvilleNext long term planning process. This bill will address part of the problem and is part of a wider collection of actions that Metro will be taking to help preserve existing moderately priced housing, help older neighbors afford to stay in their homes, and help incentive the building of a range of housing options all around the city.

The I-440 Greenway, which was promised as part of the I-440 lawsuit settlement back in the 1970’s, is finally beginning to take shape. The first section was built on TDOT surplus property between Lealand Lane and Granny White several years ago. The newest section in the Sylvan Park area will run in TDOT ROW from Elmington Park on the south/west side of I-440, crossing the interstate at Acklen Park Drive, ending at Centennial Park. Plans for connecting this with the greenway already in place are being developed so that the whole length will eventually be accessible for walking or biking.

nMotion Update – MTA is wrapping up the information gathering portion of its nMotion strategic planning process and has presented its board with three scenarios to consider. These ranged from improving the bus-based system to significant investment in regional light rail systems. The preferred scenario at this point is to invest in a robust rail oriented regional system and to improve the local bus system through more frequent service, extended hours, and adding new routes. The most recent improvement to the system is the launching of the real-time bus locater app. Bus riders can download Transit Now to their smartphone and see exactly where the bus is and when it will arrive at the local stop.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department is urging motorists not to leave their vehicles running unattended to warm up. Each year, nearly half of all vehicles stolen had the keys left inside or made available to thieves. There are cases where thieves have cruised neighborhoods and businesses looking for vehicles that were warming up. Some were even taken while children or pets were inside. These vehicles have also been used as getaway cars in other crimes. A Metro ordinance prohibits the leaving of running vehicles and state law also prohibits leaving running vehicles unattended. The police department’s continuing PARK SMART campaign strongly urges citizens to lock their automobile doors, secure any valuables and REMOVE THE KEYS.

The discussion about how to develop Music Row continues. Neighbors can weigh in through two surveys available online. The first survey looks at the goals and policy: How important is it to preserve Music Row’s unique character? How should tourism be managed? Agree with, disagree with, or stay neutral on those and other proposed goals and policy recommendations at the links below. The second surveyconsiders what incentives might be offered. In addition concerned Nashvillians canjoin the Planning Department’s nextdoor.com discussion on Music Row issues or visit the Planning Department’s Music Row Community Meetings to learn more about the design plan process and catch up on discussions/surveys conducted to date..

I am always eager to hear your concerns and suggestions. Please contact me at 615-383-6604 or burkley.allen@nashville.gov.

Regards, 
Burkley Allen 
Metro Council 18th District

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