Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Salemtown, Sulphur Dell, and Karl Dean

At some point I'll get to blogging on the details of yesterday's association meeting regarding concerns I blogged about this past weekend. However, there were two rather remarkable revelations divulged that deserve their own space here.

Apparently, our new president has jumped in with both feet to support the Sulphur Dell ballpark. Less than a month into her tenure as the chief, she has joined an effort with Germantown, Hope Gardens, Buena Vista to form a tighter consortium to try and shift Courthouse sentiment (assuming it has ever really waned) back to the concept of a ballpark near Bicentennial Mall. She told us they are looking to brand the group with a hip name like "North Core". They have political heavyweights working with them (politics consultant and PR stud Mike Kopp's name was dropped), and they have a budget (our neighborhood association has yet to even see any 2012 budget proposals).

Salemtown Neighbors is on record having expressed a guarded openness to the ballpark project in the past, pending assurances that increased vehicular traffic would not undermine complete, pedestrian-friendly streets or our North Nashville Community Plan. If the association is to take a more unqualified, enthusiastic response supporting a paid lobbying effort for Sulphur Dell, then we ought be discussing this in open meetings and voting up or down to change our previous stance.

Despite being on the Executive Board, I do not believe that this is a decision that should be decided by executives alone since it affects us all. It would be out of character for us to become top-down. Moreover, all of us would like to see our quality-of-life enhanced by smart growth, but common sense tells us that not all growth is smart just because it makes developers more money. The community needs to be involved to the widest extent possible, and it is imperative now that we not reduce chances for discussions by cutting the frequency of our meetings as proposed.

The second interesting revelation at the meeting was that two of our newly-elected officers have been meeting with Mayor's Office officials and they have an upcoming meeting with Hizzoner himself, Karl Dean, in the near future. I think it is wonderful that the Mayor's Office is reaching out to Salemtown as they have not in the past. It would be super if our officers can convince him to set aside more in his future capital budgets to upgrade our antiquated sewer system or designate more money to parks and recreation so that Morgan Park Community Center can stay open longer hours for our kids, teens, adults, and seniors.

I'll keep an eye on these rapidly developing stories, but please send me any news you hear, too.

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