If you missed the story, the Greyhound Bus Terminal down on 8th Ave South is in the big giant dinosaur footprint of the Nashville Convention Center. Construction is well underway for the CC, and the only parcel of land not eminently domained into moving before now was Greyhound.
So, knowing full well that Greyhound had to make tracks, the city planning folks and the convention center folks decided to move the whole bus center grey and hound out to Murfreesboro Road around the Elm Hill Pike area. They held some public hearings and the public hell ensued (jet-powered by some influential business-persons in the area), followed by the powers-that-be pulling up their tents and starting over..
It gets a little interesting (if lying publicly is considered interesting) at this point. The Metro Convention Center (MCC) folks, in concert with Greyhound decide to opt for Plan B (more like Plan 9, but that’s another bad story), which was moving the bus-ers over to 11th and Charlotte where Hanson Chrysler used to peddle cars. No public hearings this time…just an announcement via the Tennessean after all the decisions had been made.
Of course, a hue, cry and distress signals went up all over this part of town. Local community organizers, chiefly Jason Powell over at Hope Gardens, pulled together a public meeting where we could question some of the decision makers. It’s during this meeting (a meeting I attended, double-tweeting with Micchiato aka M. Byrd of Enclave), that the Metro Planning folks stated that the first move to the Murfreesboro Road spot was waylaid because of zoning. This begs the question as to why the hell they planned the move over there in the first place (they didn’t know the zoning then???).
Meanwhile, our council-person, Erica Gilmore, who lives in Hope Gardens (one of the neighborhoods directly affected by the new location of Greyhound) apparently knew about the move, but chose not to share this information with anyone in her district until it hit the newspapers.
Obviously, there were not public hearings and there WAS plenty of hush-hush because the movers and shakers didn’t want a repeat of the shit-storm on the south end. But, in the ‘hearing’ tonight, they claimed to be surprised at the opposition and thought that nobody would mind. There was plenty of zoning mumbo-jumbo talk, after which we discovered (much to the surprise of community leaders who had supported downtown zoning changes) that the city could build/approve/encourage pretty much any dang thing they pleased and no one had to give notification.
Unbelievable. So, when the convention folks were hard-pressed to explain why no notification was given to people who have businesses DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from the proposed site, the response was: we were not required to give notification. When in doubt always go for the flag or the bureaucratic answer.
Here’s a few other people who learned about the move in the paper: Precinct Police Commander Huggins, Councilman-at-Large Maynard, Freddy O’Connell (President of Salemtown Neighbors and a member of the MTA board), Jason Powell, President of Hope Gardens…the list goes on.
The good news..the move IS temporary. They have a one year contract for the location (with the possibility of three consecutive one month contracts). The bad news…there is a proposed final permanent location, but that location could not yet be revealed. I think they learned a bit of a lesson here, but we’ll see.
Truth be told, I don’t think the Greyhound folks really are the culprit here…The MCC folks forced their hand and found a place for Greyhound to move, and told Greyhound to hit the trail.
I do have to wonder why Councilwoman Gilmore chose not to share the news. I do wonder if some of the folks behind the ‘dais’ really believed what they were ‘selling’, and I really wonder how that Korean Restaurant on 11th that never has any customers will handle their new clientele…
Post-script: As always, Mike Byrd has the adult perspective on the story. I do like my title though..