Council to consider cornucopia of hot-topic issues Tuesday

Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 11:30pm

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.


4 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 11/30/09 at 8:42

I don't guess that someone would introduce a bill that would more fairly allocate all capital spending to all areas of Nashville rather than have 90%+ go to the least populated area in the city.

By: TN4th on 11/30/09 at 9:05

I cannot understand Crafton. Sometimes he seems to fancy himself the protector of the municipal purse, and other times, he wants to save a bigtime loser like the fairgrounds. (Recall that the fair itself lost $1.1 mil last year and the fairgrounds operation lost $1.08 mil.) Maybe the fair would have a fighting chance if it relocated to a more rural area where its expenses would be lower. Personally, I don't see why the taxpayer should support a car track and a sleezy midway.

By: Floyd2 on 11/30/09 at 9:35

Crafton is just playing political games, trying to curry favor with some constituency. That's all he cares about doing. The fairgrounds would be much better at a new location.

By: Time for Truth on 11/30/09 at 10:13

Other than the ridiculous English Only initiative, Crafton tends to flit from issue to issue, depending on what might make the front page. He made some bleatings about the MCC but didn't show up for one of the votes on his own initiative. If he worked as hard to bring a referendum on the MCC to the public as he did on that silly EO initiative, he'd gain some credibility with me. Perhaps he remembered that he is very developer friendly and developers are among the very few who will get any benefit from the MCC.

I support Tygard on his public art ordinance. The biggest chunk of tax money is coming from the area east of downtown near the airport. Other than some airplane wings out in Hermitage, some mall art, and a few statues here and there, I see very little public art outside of the urban core. Admittedly there is some public art at the airport, and there should be. What ever happened to the buffaloes on Dickerson? Maybe I just wasn't looking...

Isn't there an existing law that makes guns in parks a non-issue? Again someone currying favor, although legally registered guns in parks doesn't bother me. It's allowing guns in bars that is completely idiotic yeehaw pandering.

I knew the convention center financing plan was coming up for an unveiling when I saw a flatbed truck loaded with mirrors and smoke machines headed towards city hall. I encourage everyone to attend any meetings set up by their councilmen and women.