12th South Water Main Project
The 12th South Water Main project that has been completed along Beechwood and Elmwood was actually Phase 1 of a two phase process. Phase 2 is in design and may start later this fall. This would include nearby streets between Belmont and 12th South. A community meeting is anticipated in the next month or two to explain details and schedule. Keep an eye on the list serve for meeting time and location.
TN Environmental Council Annual Sustainable TN Policy & Practice Meeting
The Tennessee Environmental Council invites individuals and organizations from across the state to attend their Annual Sustainable TN Policy & Practice Meeting Wednesday, August 29th and discuss priority sustainability issues for the upcoming year and beyond. Attendees will identify best policies and practices to advance sustainability in seven categories: Energy, Air, Land, Water, Solid Waste, Public Health and Food Systems. Forum outcomes are aggregated and published in their yearly revised Sustainable Tennessee Agenda which is presented to the TN General Assembly every year. The conference is August 29 from 10 am to 3 pm at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, 1900 Davidson Street in Nashville. The suggested event donation is $25, which Includes a catered lunch or $10 if you bring your own lunch. Space is limited so please register here to reserve your spot.
21st Ave. Catholic Diocese Property
After many inquiries for various types of development, the Catholic Diocese property at 21st Ave and Linden has finally been sold. According to reports, the plan is for residential development, but few other details are available at this point.
21st Ave. Corridor Planning Study
At the request of leadership from both BHN and HWEN, the Metro Planning Department has agreed to facilitate a 21st Avenue Corridor Planning Study. The goal of the study is to look at the corridor from Magnolia Blvd to I-440 in light of the NashvilleNext long term plan to allow denser development along major corridors while protecting the character and existing density of the adjacent historic neighborhoods. Metro Planning will help us develop a comprehensive plan that envisions how 21st Avenue could effectively carry more people and what heights and design guidelines would be appropriate along the corridor. The process would begin with several community meetings to gather input from stakeholders, including property owners, neighbors, business owners, on what kind of future growth makes sense. These would be followed by design sessions where Metro Planning Staff would present options that fulfill the requirements brought out during the listening sessions. Ultimately this would result in a document adopted by the Council that would provide guidelines for growth so that owners, developers, and neighbors would all have agreed upon expectations.
Belmont Blvd. Traffic Calming Study
A related process was recently completed in the Belmont Blvd traffic calming study as Public Works looks down the road to repaving. With the first bike lane in the city installed in the 90’s, Belmont Blvd has already served as a great pilot for leading edge traffic control. During several open house type meetings, the two main issues that came up in the discussions about improving safety for pedestrians, bike riders, and drivers were speeding and passing in the bike lane. Metro Public Works and Metro Planning have developed a plan to repaint the existing bike lanes with protected bike lanes shielded from traffic by parked cars, and to include both a painted buffer as well as protective bollards and virtual bulb-outs at intersections. An example of this can be seen along Magnolia Blvd southbound on the backside of Hillsboro Village. I would encourage everyone to ride a bike through that area and try it on for size. By repainting the lanes now, we will have a year or two to evaluate how this configuration works on Belmont before the repaving is done and permanent bike lanes are painted.
HWEN Walking District
The HWEN Walking District pilot was a great success. Public Works has finished their evaluation and determined that the combination of signs, lowered speed limits painted on the streets, and police enforcement did lower average speeds in the District. They have agreed to look at lowering speed limits city wide on local streets from the current 30 to 25 mph, and they are working with Metro Police on a coordinated effort to provide the enforcement needed to help drivers to adjust to the new limit. Acknowledging that physical changes may also play an important role in modifying driver behavior, Public Works will continue to evaluate the appropriateness of other traffic calming measures like stop signs and speed humps on a case by case basis.
Proposed MLS Stadium
There are several key votes coming up on the proposed MLS stadium in the next month. Due to a very strong showing of support by soccer fans and a major financial commitment by local businessman John Ingram, the city of Nashville has committed to supporting a Major League Soccer team. The Council approved a plan last spring for a public private partnership that would spend $225 million to build a 30,000 seat stadium at the Fairgrounds. As it has been worked out, this is a much better deal for the city than the Titans stadium was. We have learned a lot since then. While Metro is providing some financial support for infrastructure and improvements to the Fairgrounds, the MLS group is shouldering the large majority of the financial risk. The MLS group is obligated to pay for any cost overruns, which was a weakness in the Ballpark financing. They are also obligated outright for $9 million annually for the debt service (mortgage) for the construction. The remaining $4 million portion of the debt service will be paid by ticket taxes and sales tax revenues from the soccer stadium operation. Only if that falls short, will the city have to use taxpayer dollars to make up the remainder of the $4 million. Based on the enthusiastic support of Nashville’s minor league soccer club now playing at the Sounds Ball Park, there is good evidence that this city will enthusiastically support soccer.
A number of people have expressed concerns about the existing uses at the Fairgrounds. The city is bound by the Metro Charter to preserve the current uses, and the plans call for building new structures before the old ones are demolished. That way the flea market and other expos can continue uninterrupted at the relocation at the bottom of the hill in an area that is currently north of Walsh Road. The square footage of air conditioned and open covered space will be kept the same.
There are still a number of questions to be answered before I will be comfortable with the final vote. The proposed project includes a 10 acre mixed use development on site to help activate the area. While I understand the benefit of that, and I appreciate the affordable housing component, many council members, including me, have requested that the MLS group pay actual rent on the 10 acres, and I will continue to advocate for that. The plan physically provides space for all the current uses to continue, but the details regarding parking and scheduling, now under negotiation, will need to include assurances that the Flea Market and race weekends are accommodated. Finally, the MLS group has been in productive talks with a group called Stand Up Nashville developing a Community Benefits Agreement to ensure that local people are hired for the construction and operating jobs. I support the CBA process, and I expect a reasonable compromise to be reached before the council gives approval. The Council will have three separate items to vote on before project can move forward. We will vote on a bond issue to provide the initial funding; a zoning change to allow the mixed use development; and an ordinance to authorize the demolition of the existing exposition buildings after the new ones are built. I will continue to work with the MLS group to be sure that the conditions are in place to protect Metro financially, to respect the Fairgrounds, and to provide good local jobs.
Dark Skies Energy Efficient Lighting
I have been working with a group of stakeholders to develop Dark Skies guidelines for Nashville. This would require future construction and major renovations to provide energy efficient lighting only where and when it is needed at lighting levels that will reduce sky glow and light pollution. Studies have shown that the increased lighting around cities has environmental consequences for many animals, can disrupt good sleep for many people, and wastes huge amounts of energy. We miss a huge opportunity to show our children the wonder of the night sky and spark interest in astronomy and science in general. More and more cities are adopting Dark Skies ordinances, and Nashville can learn from their experience.
I-440 Greenway Ribbon Cutting
When the interstate was first proposed through our neighborhoods, local activists like Gene Teselle, Betty Nixon, and Jan Bushing, organized to alter the interstate design to reduce the environmental impact. In addition to building the road below grade and providing soundwalls, the project was supposed to include a greenway running parallel to the new interstate. It has taken decades, but the greenway is finally becoming a reality. A small section was completed from Leland Lane to Granny White several years ago, and the next leg is being completed this month. We are planning to celebrate with an official I-440 Greenway ribbon cutting in September. It is not officially open, but the greenway already offers a great alternative bike path from Elmington Park to Centennial Park.
250K Tree Day
The Tennessee Environmental Council is planning now for 250K Tree Day, the largest volunteer community-tree-planting event in the history of Tennessee, scheduled for February 23, 2019. District 18 can help by locating places that need trees, volunteering to plant trees, and offering sites for tree distribution centers. Pick-up locations should be located in a public area such as an office, retail building, park office, church, community center or other easy-to-find central locations where participants can easily find their trees. Last year the Chess Club on Belmont Blvd served as a distribution center. The requirements for pick-up location leaders are summarized below.
- Promote the event in your local community. Examples: print and post flyers, share the event on social media, send press release to local news and radio stations
- Drive to your nearest regional distribution center on Thursday, February 21 to pick up and transport tree seedlings to your pick-up location. Depending upon customer demand in your county, you may anticipate picking up between 500 and 1500 seedlings for distribution (exact orders will be emailed to you the week of the event). This number of seedlings can fit in the back of a small pickup truck, or the bed of a station wagon.
- Store seedlings in a cool, dry, shaded location until chosen distribution date; Friday, February 22 (during regular business hours) AND/OR Saturday, February 23 (9am-11am). Extreme-weather alternate date is March 10. This could be a garage, out-building or other appropriate location not subject to freezing.
- Be ready to distribute seedlings 30 minutes prior to your scheduled distribution time.
- Let us know the following week if you have a surplus of trees post event. We want to find homes for all 250K seedlings.
General tree seedling registration will open in August. If you agree to follow through with the above activities, please register your organization at this link ASAP. Choose one or both dates and times when you will be available for participants to pick up tree seedlings (Friday, 2/22, 9am to 5pm and/or Saturday, 2/23, 9am to 11am – local times). Provide all information related to your pick-up location. Your name, contact information, pick-up dates, times, and locations will be published to the public on our website, in case participants need help finding the location etc. Submissions are not guaranteed. TEC will email you if your pick-up location has been accepted.
I hope everyone’s summer winds down peacefully. Please let me know what your thoughts and concerns are at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 615-383-6604.
Metro Council 18th District