Monday, August 26, 2013

Dean: "at some point" the neighborhoods most affected by a new ballpark will be brought into ballpark planning

I distinctly recall that in the days when a previous ballpark proposal was under consideration under a previous Mayor, community meetings were held for feedback on location and other considerations well in advance of the legislative debate beginning. Not going to happen under Karl Dean:

crucially, the mayor did say, at least during his time left in office, there would be a new park in Sulphur Dell or there'd be no new park at all, quashing once and for all any hopes of a stadium at the old Thermal Plant site in SoBro or at the foot of the Korean Veterans Bridge on the East Bank. The former was all-but a done deal in 2008 and the latter was briefly considered a frontrunner as late as last year.

Indeed, the Sounds — and even former Nashville Vols who actually played at the original Sulphur Dell — were on the record, in the past, as being unenthused about the prospect of moving to North Nashville.

Sticking with the theme that all of this is very early — the mayor wouldn't commit to any "hard timeline" on the project — Dean said at some point the area's neighborhood associations would be brought into the discussion, though he said "this is a project for the whole city."

I guess under this "strong executive" form of county government, the Mayor unlike other mayors need not be a "neighborhoods mayor". However, the peculiar hypocrisy of saying the interests of proximate neighborhoods should take a backseat to the city is obvious to those of us who watched the theatrics of the Mayor's plan to sell the State Fairgrounds to private developers.

First, I recall a gaggle of residents from South Nashville neighborhoods around the Fairgrounds supporting the Mayor's plan and arguing repeatedly that even though the Fairgrounds is public property, their communities should have more say over demolition and planning than anyone who did not live nearby. Second, when Karl Dean introduced his Fairgrounds sell-off plan, he greased the skids at the first council committee meeting considering his plan by showing a video of neighborhood association president Keith Moorman promoting Fairgrounds demolition/redevelopment to the Chamber of Commerce and the news media. South Nashville Action People, the association representing the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood, got their own exclusive public hearing before the council during which Mr. Moorman pitched the Mayor's Fairgrounds plan. No opponents were allowed to speak at this committee meeting. Instead, they had to wait until council's public hearing. Further, the Mayor's SNAP supporters even insinuated that they were entitled to their own public hearing later in the council process, as if Mr. Moorman had not been given one in the first place.

And one more note. The land on which a new Sulphur Dell would sit belongs to the state. By Hizzoner's own logic, a new Sulphur Dell ought to be "a project for the whole state" with the city brought in "at some point".

Straight from jump this Mayor has consistently shown benign neglect toward North Nashville. He merely perpetuates that neglect by not affording our neighborhoods the same influence over a major capital project (in this case a ballpark) that he grants others. My interpretation of "the point" at which Mayor Dean will bring North Nashville communities into the process is basically when, if ever, it is safe for him to.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, Karl Dean is already campaigning for some future state office. Notice he is everywhere, even showing up on camera with the South Nashville Little League. He is a bulldozer with a mission because Anne Davis wants to be the (governor, senator, etc)'s wife.