While Nashville’s proposed convention center continues to generate the most buzz, Metro Council on Tuesday will consider legislation that addresses a host of other hot-button issues, including public art and gun bans.
An ordinance proposed by At-large Councilman Charlie Tygard aims to bring public art beyond downtown by allocating 75 percent of revenues generated from Metro’s “Percent for the Arts” program evenly among Nashville’s nine school districts.
Signed into law by former Mayor Bill Purcell, “Percent for the Arts” sets aside 1 percent of all net proceeds of general obligation bonds issued for public construction projects and dedicates it to public art.
The bill, which the Metro Arts Commission opposes, will be voted on the second of three readings.
Council members also will consider a bill on second reading filed by Councilman Sam Coleman that would exempt certain Metro parks — including Beaman, Bells Bend and Cane Ridge parks — from the city’s ban on handguns in parks.
After the state legislature earlier this spring passed a bill allowing handgun-carry permit holders to posses guns inside parks, the Council in August opted out of the law, as did many other city and county governments across the state.
Then there’s the fate of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, which seems primed for redevelopment. Council members will entertain on second reading an ordinance sponsored by Councilman Eric Crafton that would require the 117-acre property be utilized in no other fashion that its current form. Uses would be limited to a fair, racetrack, expo center and storage facility for the Davidson County Election Commission.
If the ordinance fails, Crafton has filed a memorializing resolution that asks the fair board to keep the Fairgrounds in operation through 2010, while also requesting the board explore a public-private partnership for the development of a portion of the property.
On the zoning front, Councilman Mike Jameson and Councilwoman Erica Gilmore will introduce a bill on first reading that would create a new zoning district called the “Downtown Code” for the city’s urban core.
The bill, which follows a two-year study by the Metro Planning Commission, favors a vision for a more walkable, mixed-use downtown by substituting traditional zoning classifications based on land use in favor of new regulations that police height, street frontage and other design elements.
But the Music City Center has found its way onto Tuesday’s Council agenda too.
With the proposed $585 million convention center’s finance plan to be unveiled Dec. 3, Jameson and Councilman Darren Jernigan have filed a memorializing resolution asking Council members endorse a set of guidelines from the Neighborhood Resource Center when discussing the convention center, along with other issues, in community meetings.
A handful of Council members have already scheduled meetings between now and mid-January to discuss with constituents the convention center and its companion hotel, with more Council members expected to follow suit.
The Neighborhood Resource Center’s “Top 10 Guidelines for Holding Controversial Community Meetings,” as it's dubbed, includes having representation from both sides of an issue.