Mayor Karl Dean celebrated the opening of the Music City Center Monday morning, while acknowledging the work still to be done outside it.
Standing in the grand lobby of his signature mayoral achievement, Dean delivered his State of Metro address, calling on the city to celebrate today and get back to work tomorrow addressing education and poverty, upgrading mass transit, and pushing forward with economic development.
“Today we open the doors of this great, new Music City Center to welcome visitors and tourists from all over the world,” he said. “Now it is time to open the doors of our city for all. For the bright and the talented; for those like us and not like us; for the lost and the struggling; and for the young who are filled with so much possibility.”
In a 45-minute speech, (click here  for the full text) Dean reiterated his support for charter schools and “school choice” and delivered a pitch for The Amp, his proposed bus rapid transit project along the West End corridor.
He also announced the establishment of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, “which will allow Metro government to take a more active role in creating affordable housing, encouraging rehabilitation of existing homes, maintaining affordability and building mixed-use, mixed-income developments.
Prior to delivering his address, Dean spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Music City Center. There he announced that, after finalizing talks with an interested group last week, the center has booked 123 meetings and surpassed its goal of booking 1 million hotel room nights by opening day.
Dean laced optimism about the center’s future with a challenge to make sure “a stellar year for Nashville” didn’t end up as a flash in the pan.
“Is Nashville going to be a one-hit wonder?” he said. “Or are we a legend in the making?”
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