Thursday, June 11, 2009

Searching for Comparables

A Salemtown neighbor updates the association e-mail list regarding Tuesday night's disappointing meeting with MDHA regarding disclosure and accountability on the Salemtown streetscape project:
I ran across news of a new Williamson County streetscape project that might be of interest. [Tuesday] night, one of the CAC committee members asked to review past MDHA streetscape project budgets vs. actuals to determine if our project/budget mismanagement was par for the course, worse, or (God forbid) an improvement on previous endeavors.

We were told that our project was the largest MDHA had ever taken on, and that other streetscapes we mentioned (Dickerson Road, etc.) were not comparable because they were state projects that qualified for TDOT grants, etc.

Perhaps we could monitor the progress of this new project in Williamson County:


Aldermen OK advertising for bids on Columbia Avenue Streetscape

By Mindy Tate


Franklin aldermen last night voted 6-2 to move forward with advertising and receiving of bids on the Columbia Avenue Corridor and Connector Streets project, although a motion to create an assessment district for the project failed 4-5 with Mayor John Schroer voting against creation of the district.

On the Columbia Avenue Streetscape project, a motion by Alderman Ann Petersen to put the project on hold and move forward with replacing the storm drainage and repaving the street at a cost of $320,000 failed 2-6, with Petersen and Alderman Dana McLendon voting for her motion.

"We have already invested a lot of money on Columbia Avenue and I think we need to go on and finish the job," said Alderman Ken Moore before voting against the assessment district.

If aldermen had voted to create the assessment district, it still would have had to be approved by property owners with 50 percent of the value of the assessment area, according to City Administrator Eric Stuckey.

The property in the project corridor has an assessed value of $8 million, officials said, while estimating the project may cost $4 million. Proponents point to redevelopment which has begun on the corridor, including the construction of the two-story Synergy Bank branch near Columbia Avenue and Ninth Avenue.

MDHA's position that there are no comparables with which to judge the Salemtown project seems disingenuous to me, given that during the interview process to select a landscape architect, one of the factors the selection committee considered was similar projects the firms had done in the past. I have a hard time believing that we could not find any other MDHA block grant project against which to assess the Salemtown project.


  1. I’d be interested in knowing if MDHA had anything to do with the 12 South corridor streetscape project.

  2. From a 1996 Christine Kreyling article in the Nashville Scene:

    On Oct. 29 at the Sevier Park Community Center, planners unveiled a proposal for “12 South,” the commercial strip along 12th Avenue South that is familiar as the home of Becker’s Bakery. Developed at the behest of the Metro Development and Housing Agency (MDHA), the ground plans and elevations are the result of an intensive grass-roots planning effort headed by the landscape architecture firm of Hawkins Partners, working in consultation with Everton Oglesby Askew Architects, civil engineers at Barge Cauthen & Associates, and demographic specialists at Centennial Inc.

    The 12 South team doggedly surveyed and met with area residents and business owners to achieve a consensus on goals for neighborhood commerce. Then they designed a plan for a pedestrian-friendly 12th Avenue streetscape—narrower lanes for cars, on-street and communal off-street parking, clearly marked crosswalks, sidewalks, trees, civic art, human-scale street lighting, and easier access to Sevier Park. The plan lays the groundwork that could transform a drive-through neighborhood into a real destination.

  3. oly crap! Great find. I can't believe I didn't think of this, since I LIVED there during the construction. #FAIL on the part of my brain.

    I believe we now have a project to which we can compare ours.

    We need to ask our CAC chair to bring this up in her discussions with our Project Manager.

    Let me know if you'd like contact info for the 12 South NA president.