Jefferson Street project aims to redefine district

Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 10:02pm

North Nashville’s venerable Jefferson Street is slated for a major facelift, a move that city officials and backers trust will spur continued strides along the storied street.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, speaking on Jefferson at the Interstate 40 underpass, announced Thursday plans for an extensive, multi-phased streetscape improvement project that local landscape architecture firm EDGE Planning, Landscape Architecture and Graphic Design will oversee. Called Gateway to Heritage, the multi-phased project will include new landscaping and murals. It is aimed at stimulating economic development along the busy corridor by reducing I-40’s negative impact on the district.

Former Tennessee Titan Eddie George is the president of EDGE.

“The streetscape improvement project is the definition of a community collaboration,” Dean told a crown of about 75 attendees.

No start date was announced, but officials said the effort will begin some time in 2010.

The unveiling of the specific plan comes more than one year after Gov. Phil Bredesen announced a $640,000 transportation enhancement grant. In September, Metro government selected EDGE as the project’s design consultant.

The enhancements — to be funded through the Tennessee Department of Transportation with matching funds from Metro — will run about one-half mile, spanning 28th Avenue north on the west to the Jefferson Street I-40 exit ramp on the east. As of the original announcement in 2008, TDOT had funded more than $189 million in transportation-related projects through its Enhancement Grant Program.

George said Sharon Hurt, president and CEO of JUMP (Jefferson Urban Merchants Partnership) was “persistent” in her efforts to help make the project a reality.

“I spent all night working on these drawings,” the football star turned businessman said to crowd chuckles before unveiling four images of Gateway to Heritage.

7 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 10/30/09 at 7:07

I guess this will be how they will justify giving the sales tax growth from the Jefferson Street businesses to the convention center instead of the people of Nashville needing service? Without the convention center you would not get your streetscaping?

It feel surreal to see the political payoffs out in the open. I am guessing that the councilperson from this area is now an ardent supporter of the MCC.

By: JeffF on 10/30/09 at 7:09

I would like to add that I think it is great to revitalize the neighborhood, I would just hate to see them get it only after strongarming by the convention minions.

By: notaclerk1 on 10/30/09 at 8:01

I hope this works out well, But anyone under 30 remember a place called "Fountain Square" ? It was a similar attempt in the metro center area of Bordeaux.
There was the first big super theater in the area various Restaurants of different levels of cost, nice Clubs that could be Jammin....stores, a walk of fame for Artists of the Area, and a lighted Fountain show and other water shows ...that were ...ok. and It all went to Crap

.I went there from 1988 to 1992 I attended movies late at night and enjoyed the place During the day as well. Then about 1991 the local area started to wear on the area, vandalism violence wannabe gangs ...and the whole area just fell apart. Millions were Invested in the area, the former mayor wanted to pour another 15 million in the project ..and I am so glad that did not go thru. To get to the point I don't have much hope for the new project Hope it works out though. J.P.L.

By: yank283 on 10/30/09 at 1:25

Well, I think what it has going for it now is that there are young professionals (middle to upper middle class folks) moving into the area now. Judging from other areas near the downtown core, that are seeing similiar revitalization, they tend to make sure it gets maintained as opposed to out of town/area landlords.

By: notaclerk1 on 10/30/09 at 4:31

The problem, like in so many other places in other cities and here are the folks who will Frequent the place. Fountain Square had your regular mix of folks, then as the Thuggish type started basically living there so to speak....The people looking to do Business or have a good time started going elsewhere. The last time I went there before everything started closing down there were groups of Armed cops used as security, and then stuff would happen when they turned their Back...sometimes in front of them. I want to see something good, but you have to get certain type of people either in Jail or under control...or you will have nothing. You can see that in countless other cities.


By: Time for Truth on 11/1/09 at 8:51

So that's why all the TV vans and cop cars were out there Thursday afternoon, I was guessing it was for a bad traffic accident. Of course the Dean administration could be viewed as a bad accident....

Most of the 60's 'urban renewal' in Nashville, including the locating of I-40, is now widely viewed as badly done. This won't fix the problem but it is a step in the right direction.

By: Time for Truth on 11/1/09 at 8:57

I remember Fountain Square in it's heyday. It probably didn't help that several of the major businesses were bars, including a national chain where waittresses showed off their boob jobs and another known for high-alcohol slushy drinks.