It’s the message Mayor Karl Dean keeps hammering home: “We’re back.”
Dean used the phrase again Thursday afternoon, this time visiting the downtown DISTRICT Merchant’s Association, as the organization used its monthly meeting to celebrate what it’s calling downtown’s rebound from the area’s historic flood.
In terms of downtown Nashville, Dean’s observation is fairly accurate. All but two of the more than 30 downtown businesses that sustained flood-related damage earlier this month have reopened.
The two downtown establishments still recovering are the Wildhorse Saloon, scheduled to open June 4, and Joe’s Crab Shack, which still hasn’t set a date. Meanwhile, tenants of the Market Street Apartments on Second Avenue are still unable to move back into their dwellings.
At the moment, Dean and the downtown community is preparing for the CMA Music Festival, which will be held June 10-13 at LP Field. Half of proceeds at the event this year will go to flood victims. More than 50,000 country music fans are expected to attend.
“The CMA Festival this year is an opportunity to show everybody in the United States what we already know –– that we are open, we’re up and we’re doing well,” Dean said. “We can put on a great show, and this city will show itself in a way that it never has before.”
Dean then pointed to the upcoming Nashville Rising benefit concert, as well as the recently announced Paul McCartney show, both to take place at Bridgestone Arena. It all points to downtown’s revival, he said.
But businesses in all parts of town are still recovering.
In all, 1,649 businesses throughout Nashville sustained flood-related damage, according to Ralph Schulz, CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. The area with the highest concentration affected businesses was near Gaylord Opryland, he said.
Throughout Nashville, many businesses have reopened, Schulz said, but many haven’t. Assessments are ongoing, and updated numbers are expected by next week.