Category Archives: salemtown

I doubt Mayor Purcell reads this blog, but…

I’d like to thank him for joining us for a few blocks of our ‘Night Out Against Crime’ neighborhood walk.  In the brief time he was able to spend with us, he listened to our concerns about a ‘trouble-magnet’ store* in our neighborhood, he told us that the re-engineering of the waste water plant would be finished on time (2008) and that there will soon be a groundbreaking ceremony for the green-way connector between the MetroCenter green-way and the green-way which begins in Bicentennial Mall and meanders down to Riverfront Park.   He also let us know that funds had been approved for a new Head Start Building behind the current Head Start headquarters currently located in the old Fehr School on 5th and Garfield.

When the Metro Action Commission finally moves to the Howard campus and the new Head Start building is completed, the Fehr school building will be available for other uses.   Mayor Purcell favors selling the building to developers for condos, but also clearly stated that the actual decision will be made by the next mayor.

So..I’m not sure that the next mayor (Dean or Clement) reads this blog either, but here’s hoping that Fehr can once again become a neighborhood school.  Salemtown is attracting lots of folks who want to live near downtown AND have a neighborhood.  Adding a neighborhood school to the mix would make the neighborhood attractive to more than young singles and us empty nester types (not that there’s anything wrong with young folks and empty nesters!!).

S-TownMike has a picture of the Mayor with the early stage-members of last night’s walk.  Other folks joined in as the walk progressed.

*The ever-so-lovely K & M Market on  Garfield between 6th and 7th.

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Filed under salemtown

Showin’ up in Salemtown – Exton, Gilmore and Player

In August, we will have lived in Salemtown for three years. The Salemtown Neighbors Association has been in place nearly that long. Our city councilman, Ludye Wallace, has not attended any of our meetings. Our city councilman, Ludye Wallace, has not returned phone calls or answered our e-mails. It took a contingency of ‘Neighbors’ attending a council meeting public hearing for Ludye to respond to our pleas on a recent zoning issue.

It shouldn’t be that hard. I’ve seen Ludye in our neighborhood exactly once. Perhaps if I lived near 1000 Buchanan Street, I might see him a little more often.

Last night our association held its monthly meeting. I do know it’s election season, but I was impressed that two of the candidates for District 19 (our council district) along with a candidate for Metro-Council-at-Large showed up. We are not a large group, but we do make noise. Candidates Erica Gilmore and Freda Player showed more interest in our association in one hour than we have received in two years from our current councilman, and color me naive, I don’t think that interest will evaporate once the election is completed.

I was also pleased that candidate Richard Exton made an appearance. He’s running county-wide, and our neighborhood is a relatively small slice of the pie.

All three candidates made a short plea for votes during the meeting, but I was far more impressed with the conversation after the meeting and the fact that they hung around, no glancing lustily at the exits.

Ludye has promised us a community meeting. If it occurs, I’ll be grateful. Just showing up can’t be all that hard.

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Filed under metro council elections, politics, salemtown

Zoning in…still life at the Metro Council Meeting

The Salemtown Neighbors Association showed up at the Metro Council Meeting last night.   It was ‘public hearing’ night.  The agenda for the meeting was approximately 12 pages long.  ‘Our’ issue was on page 8.

Our issue was a bill to permit a developer to flood a nearby tract of land with duplexes.  We weren’t asking for zero duplexes..we wanted some semblance of balance between duplexes and single family houses.   Developers wishing to make quick bucks in $alemtown are starting to drop duplexes like babies from that family in Arkansas with 16 kids (so far..).

The meeting started on time (6:00).  The gallery was full of folks, many festooned with ‘YES’ stickers and badges proclaiming: ‘Cancel the PUD’.

Some issues were deferred.  Some issues came with no controversy and were passed within minutes of the bill being called.  Any bill that contains the word ‘overlay’ brings the populi out of the historical woodwork.  An overlay bill for Hillboro/Belmont brought LOTS of folks.  Fortunately for their cause, may of proponents had something to say.  Sadly for the viewing, somewhat patient* gallery, they mostly all took their full allotted three minutes to wax on/wax off.

Hillsboro/Belmont ‘Yes’ folks got their ‘Yes’.  Other issues included a quarry in south-east Nashville that potentially could emit ‘a big cloud of stink’.

The ‘PUD’ (planned unit development) issue in Nashboro Village was contentious.  Some kids wanted the ducks to be saved.  Others were worried about crime in what was described as a potential two-story tower apartment building.  Most of the folks wanted the PUD to be cancelled.  I wondered if a more effective campaign slogan might be ‘PULL OUR PUD’.   Apparently my slogan was not needed,  The PUD was de-plugged.   Many folks left..

Time was ticking. Our Salemtown group was stalwart.  Time marched slowly on.  Democracy is ‘Days of Our Lives’ – sand through the hour glass..except there were plenty of hourglasses last night.  I have to give props to the council members.  They slogged through a lot last night with no plenary break.  As the evening wore on, there was more confusion…folks do get tired.  At one point, the Vice-Mayor allowed discussion on a technical overlay amendment that had absolutely nothing to do with the amendment.  At some point, I was silently mouthing** GET ON POINT.  CALL THE DAMN QUESTION.

Finally at approximately 11:00, our issue came up.  We were preceded by the PUD issue which meant that a large part of the gallery was noisily exiting while we were attempting to hear the dulcet tones of our councilman Ludye (the sponsor of the bill we were opposing).  The chair called for a show of hands FOR the bill.  One hand went up: the developer’s.  When he called for a show of hands against, a slew of hands went up, along with a few hallelujahs that our bill had arrived.

The developer spoke in favor of his bill, but seemed to be hesitant.  At one point he seemed to be backtracking.  Not a brilliant showing***.

Six of our group spoke.  Brilliant****.  Ludye actually listened to what we had to say*****.   Ludye began rambling a bit, and appeared to be offering a compromise amendment that seem to confuse the entire council, not to mention a good bit of the gallery******.  Actually the amendment was EXACTLY what we wanted.   David Briley came back to our group and asked if we were for the amendment.   We happily said YESSSS and thanked him.   The amendment was discussed and several members of the council asked if the folks out there (us) understood the amendment.  We mostly nodded vigorously.  I expended my last bit of energy and issued a brilliant ‘thumbs up’.   More confusing discussion ensued, and then someone finally called the question.   The good guys won.  Democracy takes time, but I’d have to say it was worth every long minute.

Thanks to Ludye for the amendment..thanks to David Briley for taking the time to listen.   Thanks to the Salemtown Neighbors who proved we CAN make a difference.  That amendment wouldn’t have shown up if we hadn’t shown up…

*The ‘patient’ group did not include my wife.  She went in and out of the gallery enough times for some folks to maybe think she was some kind of power broker or drug dealer.

**It is quite possible I wasn’t quite as silent as I thought.

***This assessment may be somewhat biased.

****What I just said above.

*****We may have written hundred of emails on this and made lots of phone calls on this issue.  This was the first time he appeared to be interested.

******I’m suspecting this was not the first time that Ludye has confused his peers.

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Filed under community, friends and family, politics, salemtown

Putting the Salem back into Salem’s Lots

A little over 2 and 1/2 years ago, my wife and I sold our home in the greater Green Hills area (not the posh side, believe me!) and moved into a brand new house in a little-known neighborhood called Salemtown. The way I identified my new environs to my friends was (and still occasionally, but less and less) is that neighborhood directly to the north of Germantown.

We were excited about the move. Our kids had flown and we were ready for something different. We got different: sidewalks, front porches, occasional gun shots (the only gun shot I heard in the old hood was the starter’s pistol at Lipscomb’s track which was directly below my old house). We swallowed hard a few times, but we really never regretted the move.

Suddenly we had a block of neighbors, most of them glad for a renewal of interest. One of those neighbors was doing something called ‘blogging’. I’d heard of blogging of course, but never gave it a second thought. S-townMike was actually writing about the neighborhood and what goes into the development of community.

Michael inspired me. I started to blog and naturally pretty much tried to copy what he was doing. Imitation being flattery, and all that. I soon realized that I was no Michael. He IS the hyper-local blogger for this part of the world, and no one appreciates that fact more than me.

I still make the occasional blog-foray into Salemtown, but if you wanna know about this neighborhood – ENCLAVE.

Our thriving neighborhood association (Salemtown Neighbors) evolved from that blog. Our neighborhood is quickly evolving as well. I don’t hear the gunshots much anymore. New houses are springing up all around….many of which we welcome.

Which finally brings me to the real point. Salemtown is a diverse neighborhood. Our sidewalks, front porches and mostly single-family dwellings are conducive to community. As stated above, developers have noticed the attractiveness of Salemtown. Some of them have contributed beautiful, well-designed homes, relatively affordable considering the prices due south. Others have decided that our part of the world is prime ‘duplex-dump’ territory.

I’ve got nothing against duplexes as long as they are part of the fabric and not the dominant face of the community. Lynn and I moved into Salemtown not for a quick way to make money in a burgeoning neighborhood, but because we wanted to make this place our home for many years. Most of our neighbors, new and old, feel the same way.

Developers who have curried favor with us individually and collectively are short-sighted if they believe our initial support will continue if their view is of $alemtown as a dumping ground for duplex complexes that affords the fast buck, but leaves us with the long-term cost of more transitory sojourners and devalued homes.

Fortunately for us, the Metro Planning Commission agrees with us.  A recent attempt by the developer of Salem Gardens to rezone the property to build all duplexes was rebuffed.  The developer (correctly, imo) was given permission to build a mix of single-family homes and duplexes.

Our neighborhood association has come together and is petitioning the Metro Council to heed the word of the Planning Commission.  A lot of us are writing council members individually.

The small point here is that we are fighting a battle we need to win.  The larger point is that the house amidst a collection of houses we moved into more than 30 months ago is part of something bigger…a NEIGHBORHOOD called Salemtown.

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Filed under blogs about blogs, golden rule stuff, salemtown