Council's Gilmore, activists aim to bring BRT stops, or at least jobs, to North Nashville

Monday, April 8, 2013 at 9:16pm

Metro Councilwoman Erica Gilmore has made it clear that she thinks Nashville’s new bus rapid transit route should include stops that service North Nashville.

But if that doesn’t happen, Gilmore has another idea to help her constituents benefit from the $136 million BRT plan. She wants low-income citizens and other marginalized populations from North Nashville to be hired to work on the street improvements and other construction aspects of the BRT.

Gilmore and other North Nashville community activists unveiled the plan, which they referred to as a “community benefits agreement” at a political forum on Monday night.

“We want to see something that’s an economic driver in our area as well,” Gilmore told The City Paper. “Whether it’s employing people through this community benefit agreement or whether it’s putting a [BRT] stop over there, it’s about revitalizing our area. That’s what we are expecting at this point, and it’s not negotiable.”

Specifically, the agreement would require construction companies to hire a set percentage of employees from low-income zip codes and another percentage of employees with employment barriers like people who are homeless, single parents, veterans and ex-offenders.

“We are pro-transit upgrades. We are in favor of the BRT but we want it to be equitable,” said Tonya Sherrell, a community activist. “We want to see people who have not had opportunities in the past ... to participate in these large scale projects [and] to benefit from this.”

Gilmore said she hopes to meet with Mayor Karl Dean about the would-be agreement in the coming weeks. Eventually, she wants to introduce legislation that would legally require city-contracted companies to comply by certain workforce requirements.

Sekou Franklin, a political science professor at MTSU, also backs the plan. He said an ideal community benefits agreement comes along with a legally binding community workforce agreement and “wraparound services” that includes job skills training.

The BRT is currently scheduled to open in late 2015 along on East-West corridor that would run from Five Points in East Nashville to West End. However, several community members have suggested that the route may be better suited for Charlotte Avenue.

7 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 4/9/13 at 2:57

Work!!!

By: Trumpet on 4/9/13 at 5:05

Joe/The Collection:

KWERSTION: What would Mansfield DO/SAY/THINK ?

OBSERVATION(S): Everybody is pro-rapid(efficient/affordable-transit) ! !

Question: "ECONOMIC DRIVER" ? This is Gilmore's/Tonya's opportunity to link their concerns with another North Nashville Issue. TB's Cyber(imaginary) BLACK MUSEUM/8th&Jefferson ! Why are they missing this opportunity ! ? What's really going On...Marvin ? What's the REAL Issue ? ? ? UNITY? COHESIVENESS?

Exert pressure to have the MUSEUM located at the promised Jefferson Street location, or nowhere at all.

KEEP THE FAITH!....and Say It Loud!!!....but, above all...MAKE SENSE!

By: CoyoteCrawford on 4/9/13 at 7:40

Councilwoman Erica Gilmore has hit the nail on the head. By bringing jobs into these areas, we will also improve schools. This is where the politicians have let the schools and communities down. Teachers don't bring jobs to these areas...politicians do. When you improve the economy of the these areas, we will improve the schools too.

By: localboy on 4/9/13 at 8:36

;)

By: blitz on 4/9/13 at 2:46

BRT - Spend millions of dollars on steamlined buses which get you to your destination 5 minutes before the standard buses. Just give the money away instead of cluttering up the streets and taking away key turning lanes. This is all smoke & mirrors with no real gain for Nashville.

This is a poorman's version of rapid transit. Don't by the hype.

By: kevin47881 on 4/10/13 at 3:42

Good to see factually accurate comments get deleted. Way to keep it biased toward one point of view, TCP!

By: tomba1 on 4/10/13 at 8:56

I'm getting sick and tired of elected public officials trying to dictate who companies must hire to accomplish a job. This is a perverted form of discrimination which probably increases the cost of the job for the taxpayer and forces private companies into the role of welfare provider. Get the job done with the best professional manpower available for the dollars budgeted and move on.