Brush pick-up begins for
- Area 6 (Brentwood, Crieve Hall, Grassmere, Abbay Hall, Sidco, WeHo) on March 7
- Area 7 (Edgehill, 12th South, Battlemont, Green Hills) on March 13
- Area 8 (Green Hills, Hillsboro West End, Belmont Hillsboro, Percy Warner, Devonshire) on March 17
- Area 9 (Bellevue, West Meade, Hillwood, White Bridge, Cherokee Park, Richland West End, Sylvan Park, Sylvan Heights, Hadley, Fisk Watkins Park) on March 23
The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee is holding listening sessions to hear from community members about solutions to mobility challenges in Nashville. The next community listening session is March 8th w/Walk Bike Nashville at Claiborne Family of Faith Worship Center, 81 Claiborne St. Register at this link . The final session will be March 21st at Southeast Library at Global Mall, 5252 Hickory Hollow Parkway. Register here
Nashville is celebrating our 60th Anniversary as a Metro government this year. In 1963 after an initial false start, city leaders convinced voters to approve one of the first consolidated city/county governments in the country. This reduced duplicate services, streamlined infrastructure, education, and public safety provision, and set the stage for minority representation in government very early in the civil rights movement. A series of meetings and panels throughout the next few months will allow Nashvillians to learn about this important part of our history. The next session is March 20th at the Downtown Public Library at 5:30, focusing on women in Metro. More information is available at this site.
The Metro Council is sponsoring a resolution encouraging Nashville to join many other cities around the globe in celebrating Earth Hour on Saturday March 25, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. As one of the first cities in the south to adopt a Dark Skies ordinance, Nashville is already ahead of the pack in recognizing the energy and ecological impact of overlighting the night sky. Nashvillians are encouraged to turn off lights for this hour on March 25 to show their support for climate action. Organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is a global grassroots movement uniting people to take action on environmental issues and protect the planet. Earth Hour was first held on March 31, 2007, in Sydney, Australia, when more than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour. It has since grown to engage millions of supporters in more than 185 countries and territories, inspiring individuals and organizations worldwide to take action for the environment, and driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the crowd. Earth Hour is held annually on the last Saturday in March. More information or celebration posting at #BiggestHourForEarth .
Judge Lynda Jones is accepting summer internship applications from high school students who have an interest in legal careers. Parking and lunches are provided for 2 weeks while students are exposed to both criminal and civil litigation . Please call 615-880-3672 for an application. The deadline for submission is April 1, 2023.
Neighbor2Neighbor (N2N) invites everyone to attend its Conference for Neighborhoods C4N Nashville 2023. Scheduled for Saturday, April 1 at the Music City Center, the conference will focus on major issues facing our neighborhoods today, including safety, infrastructure, going green, transit, homelessness in our neighborhoods, and encouraging engaged neighbors. This year’s conference also includes a mayoral forum. Sign up at the N2N website.
N2N Emerging Neighborhood Leaders Academy begins in April. The six session series takes place on Wednesday evenings. Topics include intro to Metro Government, how to organize and facilitate neighborhood meetings, and resources for neighborhoods. Meetings are a hybrid of virtual and in-person. The fee is sliding scale depending on need. More information can be found on the N2N calendar
WeGo has announced spring route changes. Spring route changes include route adjustments:
- 3 West End– change routing from downtown on White Bridge Road to left on Charlotte, right on Midland, right on O’Brien, and right on White Bridge to the end of the line
- 18 Airport – change express routing to downtown to continue on I-24 West to James Robertson Parkway; change local and express routing from downtown to Rosa L. Parks Boulevard/8th Avenue to Lafayette Street
- 19 Herman – change routing from Batavia to Albion
- WeGo Link – expand service to Bellevue, Cockrill Bend, and Sylvan Park
There will be schedule adjustments for 3 West End, 29 Jefferson, 56 Gallatin Pike, 6 Lebanon Pike, 34 Opry Mills, 76 Madison,17 12th Avenue South, 50 Charlotte Pike, 77 Thompson/Wedgewood, 18 Airport, 52 Nolensville Pike, 79 Skyline, 19 Herman, 55 Murfreesboro Pike, and 84 Murfreesboro.
Expanded service hours for 77 Thompson/Wedgewood will include extending weekday and Saturday service hours to 10 p.m. Changes go into effect Sunday, April 2. For more information, visit WeGo’s website, email WeGoTransit@nashville.gov, or call Customer Care at 615-862-5950.
The Richland Creek Run is returning for its 17th year on April 1! Runners can support Greenways and enjoy a certified 5-mile course through Historic Sylvan Park and along the beautiful Richland Creek Greenway, and a fun post-race party at M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers with awards, door prizes, silent auction, and beer specials. Information is available here.
Metro Water offers a great opportunity to learn more about where Nashville gets its water and how that water is cleaned before and after we use it. Anyone can attend the Metro Water Academy for hands on sessions and on-site tours. The Spring session will be held April 25 – May 9. MWS is currently accepting applications at the MWS website.
The Broadway Bridge will be closed from July to August for replacement. Buses and cars will be rerouted to Church Street and Demonbreun during that time. There is more information on the TDOT website.
The Metro Council has created a public on-line discussion forum to allow us an open transparent way to discuss important issues between council meetings. Open government laws prevent council members from discussing issues that we will be voting on except in publicly available formats like noticed meetings and now this publicly available on-line forum known as Council Connect. Members of the public can see the full discussion at our Public Square and look for topics of interest. There are currently forums set up for Budget, Transportation and Infrastructure, Planning and Zoning, Charter Revision, and a number of other committees. This is still relatively new, and the council is still getting used to using it as a way to work out issues. While citizens can’t comment within this forum, they can read the discussion and then write council members individually or as a group.
Metro Police has begun a six-month pilot program to test License Plate Readers (LPR) under all the guidelines laid out by the Metro Council in 2022. BL2021-961 requires that LPRs be used only to identify matches of licenses with vehicles that are stolen or connected to violent crimes. No personally identifiable data can be gathered, and all data must be permanently deleted after ten days if it is not part of an active investigation. Cameras can be located only on major streets, equally distributed in the four quadrants of the city. The MNPD website has their official policy explained on the LPR webpage .
Metro has over 75 Boards and Commissions who provide invaluable expertise and perspective on issues ranging from the Airport Authority to the Zoning Appeals Board. These boards are made up of citizens from all over Nashville who volunteer their time to ensure that Metro’s policies are implemented fairly. As openings occur, the mayor’s office is always looking for interested citizens to fill vacant slots. People interested in serving can visit the Boards and Commission webpage to see what the different boards are, what they do, and when their members might be rolling off. The Parks Board, Fair Board, Metro Planning, Traffic and Parking, and the Historic Zoning Commission have terms ending in March and April that might present opportunities for new members. Anyone interested in serving can submit an application through the portal at this site.
The State legislature is currently considering bills to reduce the size of the council, defund the convention center, and take over nominations for Nashville’s Sports and Airport Authorities and Beer Board. These bills do not appear to be driven by good governance or to represent the will of the people and taxpayers that they will impact. The Davidson County delegation is working to defeat or amend each of these, but at least some seem likely to pass. Anyone who has friends in other Tennessee Counties should ask them to write their senators and representatives and ask them to oppose HB48/SB87 (reduce council to 20) , SB648 (takes away tax resources paying convention center bonds), and HB1176 and HB1197 (Airport and Sports Authority nominations). Legislators can be contacted at the General Assembly website . Votes begin on the house and senate floor March 6.
The Titans Stadium deal is back in front of council. The mayor and the Titans have agreed on terms based on the preliminary term sheet that Council approved back in January with improvements based on concerns expressed at community meetings. The council will consider a number of legal documents before anything becomes final.
The working proposal would replace the existing lease agreement with a new contract to build a covered stadium that would be paid for by a combination of team, fan, NFL, state, and Sports Authority funding. The current lease, negotiated in the 1990s, obligates the city to maintain the facility in First Class conditions, a fairly vague definition with a lot of room for interpretation. Estimates on the cost of doing the needed renovations range from $300 million to $1.8 billion. Regardless of where on that spectrum the actual cost lies, the payment comes from local taxpayer dollars. Facility maintenance is currently being paid for by property tax dollars and general sales tax, and the remaining $30 million on the original bond issues comes from property tax and general sales tax dollars. The new proposal frees Metro taxpayers from these obligations as well as from $32 million owed directly to the Titans for maintenance that the Titans have already paid for. That frees up $62 milliion to be redirected back to schools, infrastructure, and other needs throughout the city. The proposed new covered, 60,000 seat stadium is estimated to cost $2.1 billion. The lease under consideration shifts the cost from property tax and general sales tax to tourist taxes and football related sources:
- $840 million from the Titans, NFL and PSLs. Titans cover cost overruns and future maintenance and capital expenses.
- $500 million from a one-time State contribution (available for a domed stadium only)
- $760 million from Sports Authority revenue bonds repaid by:
- New 1% hotel tax (for a new stadium only)
- Sales tax from stadium sales
- 50% of sales tax in a 130 acre area around the stadium
- $3 stadium ticket tax
The Titan’s ownership will be responsible for maintenance and capital expenses to keep the facilities in First Class conditions. Metro is still responsible for maintenance on the existing stadium for the interim period. This is expected to be around $42 million and would come out revenue sources such as cash from the Sports Authority or sales tax from personal seat licenses. Metro’s maximum contribution is capped at $42 million.
The current surface parking lots will be turned over to Metro to develop or to continue to use for parking. The existing lots contain 7,000 spaces. Metro is required to provide 2,000 spaces for use on game days. These could come from remaining parking lots, or a new parking garage can be part of the development of the 100 plus acres that are being turned back over to Metro to develop, which is not possible under the existing lease. This will be a source of new income for Metro. The development of the surrounding land will be guided by the East Bank vision plan, which has laid out clear requirements for infrastructure and housing affordability.
Key parts of the final agreement will be on first reading at the March 7 Metro Council. Council members are studying it to ensure that the final deal is beneficial to all Nashvillians and not just sports fans. The Titans have agreements with 19 non-profits to provide small business support, neighborhood initiatives, and education opportunities. See the Titan’s ONE Community platform Council members heard loud and clear at the five community meetings held in December there need to be tangible benefits for regular folks. In response to that message, an amendment was added to the term sheet creating a Nashville Needs fund to receive revenue from the stadium and adjacent development and direct it to non-profits providing important public benefits like education and housing. The Titans have committed to $1 million per year with a 3% escalation. This will total $47 million over 30 years and can be augmented by other sources from the project. This is funding whose use the council will have direct control over each year. Information on the current and proposed agreement can be viewed on the council legislative web page and the East Bank vision webpage.
Metro Elections are getting underway. All council members, the mayor, and vice-mayor are all up for election. This is a great time to engage and let the candidates know what issues are important to you. There will be a number of forums in the coming months with early voting beginning in mid-July. Although the state legislation could require Nashville to completely revise all districts by May 1, this is likely to be challenged in court, since it is direct violation of our city’s charter. There are several possible outcomes, but the most likely is keeping the current districts for the 2023 election. The filing deadline to enter a race is May 18.
I hope everyone got through the windstorm and power outages. NES has been working non-stop since March 3, and has most of the 115,000 outages repaired by the beginning of the week. Residents whose power is still out can check repair status or report at the NES outage website.
Happy Spring and Happy Pi Day (3.14)! It’s a great time to help a student learn to love math. Please let me know how Metro can serve you at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-383-6604.
Metro Council At-Large