Decision Maker

Metro Nashville Council

  • The Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County

The Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County is a 40-member body of elected representatives who have committed to an enhanced civic engagement. We want to gather support and advocacy around issues that matter to the community.

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Petitioning Mayor Briley

Stop the Removal of 21 Cherry Blossom Trees for NFL Event

Twenty-one beautiful cherry blossom trees that are located in a park in prime time downtown Nashville are scheduled to be removed this Monday morning for the NFL’s event.  These trees line 1st Avenue along Riverfront Park.  The tree community was only given this information on Friday, March 29th... we were only given two days notice that a decision had been previously made. We have been supplied this information from the organization and groups that have funded the park’s trees, the same group that funded the memorial tree trail downtown arboretum for the late Betty Brown.   In the midst of our city still considering selling a downtown park to development, in the midst of our city handing unprecedented amounts of tax breaks to private businesses while our budget sputters near bankrupt, the city needs to stop allowing private interests to supersede the public’s interest.  This city needs to stop making covert decisions that are only disclosed to the public a couple days before an action like this is taken, we demand transparency and more time to review such proposals. The city is developing a track record of outrageous negligence with handling our public trees starting with Ft. Negley’s miscommunication that lead to it being clear cut without any public notice, to Cleveland Park’s illegal removal of a large sugar maple that coincidently cleared the view of downtown’s skyline for a new set of duplexes being built next to it... and now this... FT NEGLEY TREE STORY: CLEVELAND PARK ILLEGAL TREE REMOVAL:   If we can’t save these trees by stopping their removal for this event, then at least ask for adequate compensation.  Executive Order 40 requires the city to exceed tree planting and replacement standards on public property;  $10,000 is a absurdly low, not even 1-1” caliper replacement cost for trees of this size and in this downtown location.  If a corporate interest desires to remove our trees and take advantage of our public property, then the city should require that this abnormal request and burden to public livability infrastructure  be generously compensated with a tree replacement ratio of at least 4:1.  Proposed compensation does not cover what is lost.  Earlier this year, the city passed an SP for a Green Hill’s property that required a 4-1” caliper replacement schedule, it’s in stark contrast to what the city agreed with the multi-billion dollar NFL enterprise to deface our public park for private gain.   HERE ARE THE FACTS THAT WE KNOW SO FAR: -21 trees ranging from 2-6” in caliper will be removed  -Tree removal will commence Monday morning, April 1st, 2019... I wish this was an April fool’s joke... -Trees will be removed to make room for an NFL event which will only last a couple days.  Musicians and corporate sponsors will he placed on top of these 21 fallen beautiful trees.  -NFL offered apparently agreed to pay $10,000 for replacement of these trees which is about (probably less than) 1x1” caliper replacement.  This is far below industry standard.  Typically trees are replaced at a minimum of 2x1” replacement due to mortality rate compensation.   -To give an example of tree replacement scheme in Nashville that is already set precedent, Monroe Harding’s SP requires private builders to replace at a 4x1” caliper replacement scheme.  This requirement on private property is in stark contrast to what the city is allowing on public property. -This goes against every aspect of the Executive Order 40 -We can find no mention of this in any of the metro parks agenda topics or minutes  -Metro Tree Advisory Committee nor any tree organization was notified of this; the tree community was notified of a decision that had been previously made on Friday, March 29th, 2019. -It is unclear how many of what size tree will be removed with these 21 trees.  There really is no replacing the larger trees (6” caliper) which have matured in this spot with trees of the same size because larger trees have a much higher mortality rate.  Smaller trees would have to replace them which will take about 5-10 years to grow back to medium size. -This uncertainty also makes it difficult to determine at what rate they are replacing these trees.  Replacment value of 21, 6” caliper trees would cost over $22,000 while 21, 2” caliper trees will cost $8,000.  (1 Tree Density Unit for the city = 4” caliper tree = $725 in replacment value) this is metro rate value; this does not take into consideration the unique challenges of planting 21 trees in this area; in other words, it’s low.   

Jim Gregory
86,573 supporters
Petitioning Metro Nashville Council, Eric Brown, Jim Schulman, Freddie O'Connell, Bill Fields, Leanne Lisk, Faye DiMassimo, Marcus Floyd

Safety for Musicians and Downtown Nashville/Broadway Workers

Nashville is currently one of the fastest growing cities in America, and a lot of that growth is occurring in Nashville's downtown district. Lower Broadway is Nashville’s most well-known tourist attraction, but it's also where a lot of locals go for work: bartenders, security guards, and musicians. Unfortunately, a lot of these people, myself included, have growing concerns about their safety.  It is becoming far too frequent that I am reading posts on Facebook from my fellow musicians stating they have been robbed while walking to/from their gigs on Lower Broadway, oftentimes at gunpoint. *scroll to the end to read a selection of incidents I compiled from the last few months* Not only are the perpetrators stealing their phones, cash and wallets, but they are stealing thousands of dollars (sometimes tens of thousands of dollars) worth of musical equipment. I am scared for myself and I am scared for others - this is our livelihood and we shouldn't be in a constant state of fear that we're going to be attacked while simply trying to get to work and do our jobs, that ultimately bring a huge amount of revenue to the city.  Musicians, bartenders and servers are walking targets for thieves in Downtown Nashville because everybody knows we work for tips and are therefore carrying cash at the end of the night. For musicians specifically, there are two solutions that would help us feel safer against the increased crime rate: Affordable Parking: [Prior to launching this petition, I was able to get in contact with Premier and SP+ Parking, who are the two parking companies with the heaviest presence downtown, in order to negotiate some affordable parking options for musicians. Both companies were incredibly helpful and supportive of finding solutions that benefited all parties. However, I still feel the city of Nashville should offer some sort of parking discounts in the lots they manage for musicians and other workers in the entertainment district, since we are the main reason tourists spend money on Lower Broadway.] Currently there are limited to no affordable parking options close to the venues we are playing on Lower Broadway. In order to find affordable parking, we have to park blocks and blocks, sometimes miles, away from the bars we are performing at, which makes us easy targets for these criminals, especially when we are carting our gear with us (since we are unable to use the loading zones on Broadway - see below) Stop Taxis Parking in the Loading Zones: Back in 2011, “Musician Loading” signs were added to the loading zones on Broadway, which enabled musicians to pull up outside the venues, unload their gear and then park their cars elsewhere - thus ensuring their equipment was safe from theft, mitigating some of the safety concerns. However, in 2016/2017 when the sidewalk on Broadway was expanded and, as a consequence, the middle lane of traffic was removed, the city removed the "Musician Loading Zone" signs. As a result, the taxi-cabs have completely taken over the loading zones, generally parking there for extended periods of time, and the musicians are having to fight the drivers to be able to load/unload their equipment. There are countless videos and accounts on Facebook of musicians asking the taxis to move and they respond with threats and offensive gestures - which in turn is causing the musicians to become hostile towards the cab drivers.  Dave Pomeroy, President of Nashville Musician's Association, has had numerous meetings with the Metro Police Department, the Taxi Commissioner, Public Works and Mayor John Cooper regarding the cabs parking in the loading zones. Unfortunately, the police department is severely underfunded and understaffed and just don't have the resources to deal with the taxis, in addition to their other tasks while on the job. The Transportation and Licensing Commission and the Taxi Commissioner are saying they can't do anything without the police intervening first - so it's a "catch 22" situation.  Many people are quick to point fingers at the the Metro Police Department, but it doesn't take long to realise they are doing everything they possibly can with the funding and resources they have available. Over the summer, the department launched the 'entertainment district initiative', which puts a team of 17 extra officers downtown on weekends. The department would like to have those extra officers downtown on a daily basis, but they simply don't have the staff. As Mark Byrne, the Security Director for Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and several other Honky Tonk's, told FOX 17, "[The police department] are doing a fantastic job given the resources that they have available, they're being well-deployed, it's just, they're overwhelmed." The time has come for the City to take action. Violent crime offences are up nearly 38% in the central precinct, which includes the downtown area, and this number is only going to rise if something isn't done. Live music, and thus the musicians performing, on Lower Broadway are an integral part of Nashville's tourism revenue, so at the very least they deserve to feel safe getting to and from work every day. Moreover, as the crime rate continues to increase and these incidents of theft at gunpoint become more and more frequent, the tourists are not going to want to come downtown, and all the investment into that area is going to be for nothing!Examples of incidents that have occurred on Lower Broadway: Adam Rausche (Musician) - December 22nd 2019: Adam was robbed at gunpoint while getting into a vehicle, after finishing a gig on Broadway. His phone, the cash he had on him, his 68 Deluxe amp, his Stratocaster guitar, his pedal board and his lifelong collection of harmonicas were stolen.  Jim Dumford (Musician) and Patrick Darrah (Musician) - October 9th 2019: Jim and Patrick finished their gig at around 3AM and were walking back to Patrick's car, which was parked at the corner of Broadway and 2nd Avenue, when they were robbed at gunpoint by two men. The perpetrators stole approximately $400, but fortunately didn't manage to take any of the musical equipment. Later that morning, the attackers went on to rob a Ft Campbell soldier, which sparked a police pursuit. Chris Hill (Musician) - November 2019: Chris was playing at Loser's Downtown on a Saturday afternoon. When he'd finished the gig, he bounced around a few other bars, stopping in to see friends, watch some football and have a couple beers. At around 6.30pm he completely blacked out and all he can remember is being choked from behind in an alley just off Broadway, and someone taking everything from his pockets, which amounted to around $300 and his cell phone. He had a toxicology report done and the results came back proving he was drugged. Taylor Kavanagh and Lauren Wenberg (Bartenders) - January 15th 2019: Taylor and Lauren were maced and robbed while walking home on 3rd Avenue, between Broadway and Demonbreun in front of FGL House. The incident was caught on the FGL security cameras, but the couple who carried out the attack have still yet to be caught.

Sasha McVeigh
25,431 supporters
Petitioning Metro Nashville Council, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Butch Spyridon


JULY 15, 2022 — Partial success!  So many local Nashville Metro Councilmembers publicly opposed hosting the 2024 Republican Convention in Nashville its sponsor, Robert Swope, withdrew the legislation at the July 5 meeting rather than bring it to a vote. (Swope is a highly partisan Republican who served on Donald Trump's payroll for more than a year.)Predictably, the reaction from Republicans has been intense.  They're currently exploring a special session in the TN Legislature to punish Nashville for rejecting the Convention. Unfortunately, as we all know, they have a long history of disrespecting our city's voters through everything from overturning our legislation to taking away seat in the US Congress. But it is in their power to do extreme things that would affect everyone who lives here, which is why it's more important than ever that your Councilmembers hear from you with a message that they should continue to stand up to TNGOP's bullying.  We're told Swope will likely bring the bill forward again, likely on August 2. He's got a new editorial in the Tennessean which puts forward a number of questionable assertions. A credible study shows the $200 million figure Nashville would allegedly receive is likely highly inflated and the contract itself plainly states that Nashville would need to pay for expenses related to security and traffic control.  Do we really trust Donald Trump, of all people, to see that our city is reimbursed for costs which would run into the tens of millions?  Also, Nashville would have to cancel three previously scheduled conventions and the lost business plus funding to turn downtown essentially into an armed camp would likely run around $100 million.  Swope also relies heavily on the assertion that hosting this event would promote Nashville's reputation, which is absurd.  We don't need a GOP Convention to draw tourists here, and if anything this Convention will injure Nashville as Donald Trump uses the reputation our heavily Democratic residents have worked to create to market nationalism and white supremacy. Most importantly Swope's piece completely dismisses the very legitimate concerns of Nashvillians who see what today's GOP is capable of in living color through the #January6Hearings. These people would be staying restriction free in the abundance of short term rental properties throughout our city since TNGOP overturned Nashville's common sense legislation to regulate them. Late breaking news: An RNC site selection committee has evidently recommended Milwaukee as the site of the Convention. But this is NOT a done deal. The RNC itself has to approve the plan at a meeting in August. Make those calls y'all!***** Our spreadsheet HERE contains the phone and email information for all our local electeds and decisionmakers.  CALL & EMAIL NOW! *****JUNE 25, 2022 — Nashville is now one of only two cities in final consideration for the 2024 GOP Convention. With recent presentations of the January 6th Committee in the U.S. House providing Americans with a bounty of evidence that Trump supporters include a cabal of violent criminals with no respect for our country's traditions and laws, now more than ever we would discourage any discussion of holding this event on Nashville city streets.On July 5th Metro Council will begin discussion of legislation that would commit city resources to the Convention.  TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.  Contact your elected leaders TODAY.  JAN 4, 2022 — On December 26th, 2021 local news reported that Nashville's Convention and Visitors Bureau had submitted a request to host Donald Trump's 2024 GOP Convention in Nashville - with ZERO input from city residents, and we suspect without the knowledge of many if not most of our local elected officials. (The CVB is run by unelected, unaccountable folks paid by an organization mostly funded by public money. Its head, Butch Spyridon, earns more than Nashville's police chief, fire chief and head of our public health department. CVB theoretically has to have actions approved by our electeds, but it seems like that doesn't happen with much regularity.)  A fig leaf was offered with the promise the same proposal would be made to the Democratic Convention, but Democratic consideration letters went out last June - so the promise likely isn't real. The RNC convention bid request was made by TN's Republican state Governor, Bill Lee, who lost his election bid in Nashville by more than 30 percentage points. Lee shouldn't get to call the shots in our city - which along with similarly Democratic Memphis, pays hundreds of millions of dollars to TN in sales and other taxes every year despite near-total oppression of our residents' desires by TN's GOP leadership. It's telling the Republican congregation which apparently proposed the Nashville convention idea concocted its plan in Brentwood, a city that isn't even in Davidson County.  NASHVILLE DOES NOT WANT THIS CONVENTION. For a million different reasons, not the least that our city voted for Hillary Clinton by 27 points and Joe Biden by 32. Nashville hasn't elected a Republican to Congress - our only citywide partisan election - since Reconstruction in the 1870s.   This bid would require local public resources from use of our roads to police protection to insurance against public chaos on city streets. Is the sight of armed police and Proud Boys clashing with city residents on national television what Butch Spyridon has in mind when he talks about Nashville's "family friendly" image?  The entire idea is preposterous.  Call the Mayor's office, your local Metro Councilmember, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau to say NO NASHVILLE GOP CONVENTION in 2024!.***** Contact Info for Local Officials:  Our spreadsheet HERE contains the phone and email information for all our local electeds and decisionmakers.  CALL & EMAIL NOW! *****OUTTAKES FROM ORIGINAL 2020 PETITION FOLLOWS: This week the Tennessean posted a series of articles pushing the idea of a Nashville GOP Convention.  Here's just one calling Nashville a "serious contender" to take on the Republican event rejected by North Carolina because Trump and the GOP are insisting on no masks or social distancing.  Gov. Bill Lee toured Lower Broadway Friday June 5th with RNC representatives (and threaded the needle between two #BlackLivesMatter protests in the area which drew tens of thousands of protesters.)COVID concerns come in addition to the considerable risk of violence to our city employees, residents, public and private property from a GOP apparatus which seems to think nothing of using any means necessary to clear peaceful protests.  Trump has already tear gassed peaceful protestors and threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act, which our Republican governor could approve to roll U.S. Army tanks down Nashville city streets to quiet opposition.  All this said, we're not quite at red alert status yet.  We're told calls to electeds are running heavily NO, and several Metro Councilmembers have signed onto CM Colby Sledge's announced resolution to say NO to the Convention.  Mayor Cooper has said that financial and COVID concerns have made him unreceptive to the Convention.  Also, other cities such as Orlando, Las Vegas and Savannah are still in the mix.But pressure still is coming from Republicans in the Legislature, none of whom live in Nashville, and from Republican Gov. Bill Lee's office. He knows he won't get votes in liberal Nashville so he doesn't much care what we think, and he has financial and regulatory tools in his arsenal to try to force leverage on Nashville electeds to do his bidding. Proponents point to the tax revenue which would be generated by the event, but they've issued no specifics.  Also, events like this are hugely expensive.  Charlotte was asked to commit $70 MILLION in their original 2018 bid.The Republicans want to use city-owned Bridgestone Arena and Music City Center for the event itself, and have asked cities to use similar venues free of charge in the past.  Which means we'd pay for the security, sanitation and other personnel it takes to run those venues.  Police overtime alone would likely run into millions.  Would that money be reimbursed? We estimate several city blocks around Bridgestone Arena would have to be blocked off for at least a few days due to clashes between law enforcement and protestors.  Who'd reimburse the affected business owners as well as others who'd suffer from the traffic and other major disruptions this event would cause?  (With all our law enforcement downtown, who'd respond to domestic violence and other calls?)  Who'd reimburse for public and private property which easily could be damaged by protests?  This Convention speech would be Trump's marquee event for the year.  In November 2016 Nashville voted AGAINST Donald Trump by almost 30 percentage points.  This is OUR city.  WE should get to decide who hosts an unmasked, unsocially distanced major event and brings the potential of unprecedented clashes between police and protestors to our streets. Find real time updates on the Twitter hashtag #NoNashvilleGOPConvention or on our Twitter account at @NashvilleResist. 

Nashville Resist
21,724 supporters
Petitioning Metro Nashville Council

Recall Nashville Mayor John Cooper

For the past several weeks, Nashville Mayor John Cooper has put a halt on businesses in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with plans to reopen being driven by “data, not dates.” Actual data proves that this edict is faulty at best. According to, nearly 90% of those tested for COVID had negative results. Of the 10-11% that tested positive, only a handful have died, while a substantial amount has recovered. And yet, the city is shut down. Small businesses that are deemed non essential are forced to shut their doors with chances of opening back up being low. Small business owners are forced to put the majority of their employees on furlough. Independent musicians, who make their money from doing gigs at local venues, are unable to provide for themselves. All while the hospitals lay empty. Despite this, Mayor Cooper has the audacity to extend the Safer-at-Home order until “at least May 8.” The icing on the cake is that he is introducing a 32% tax hike on the city to prevent Metro employees from being laid off. To which I say “No more!” Enough is enough! I’m calling on the small business owners and independent musicians of Nashville to put the pressure on Metro Nashville Council to place a recall effort for one Mayor John Cooper. His efforts are proof for a vote of no confidence in his leadership of this great city and need to be remedied. Sign this petition and spread the word! 

Matthew Lowe
5,180 supporters
Petitioning Metro Nashville Council, Mayor David Briley

Ban Bird, Ban Them All. E-Scooters Are A Scourge On Nashville.

May 23, 2019 Nashville, Tennessee Since e-scooters arrived in Nashville they have brought injury, suffering and, most recently, death and unimaginable sorrow to the family of Brady Gaulke. The devastation started slowly, with most Nashvillians merely annoyed at how they littered the sidewalks. Then people started getting hurt. By February 2019, Vanderbilt had treated over 250 people who had been injured while riding e-scooters. Finally, inevitably, on May 19, 2019 someone was killed. That was Brady Gaulke. Heidi and Brian’s son. Dakota’s brother. He was killed because e-scooters are inherently unsafe in urban environments like Nashville, on streets filled with fast moving vehicles. Like the Corvair from another era, e-scooters are unsafe at any speed, and we are calling on Mayor David Briley and the Metro Council to ban them from the streets immediately. We are calling for a ban so Brady is the last victim of an epidemic that the e-scooter companies and local government both refuse to acknowledge. We have read the same articles that you have, which say Brady made an improper turn. We have read that the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision bears no fault for his death. Consequently, we understand how tempting it is to blame Brady for what happened. Our purpose in releasing this statement is not to argue, it is to ask for your help. We need your help in preventing one more injury, one more death, regardless of fault. Please help us by signing the petition in support of the ban on e-scooters in Nashville. We saw how you rallied to save the cherry trees that were threatened by the NFL draft. We are asking you to rally again, this time against a much graver threat: the use of inherently unsafe e-scooters in Nashville, Tennessee. As we work through Brady’s passing, we take comfort in the stories about him from the people whose the lives he touched, and in the final act of kindness he showed before he left this world: Brady was an organ donor. Thank you for respecting our privacy during this time.  Please direct any inquiries to our attorney, Sean J. Martin.  Thank you. - - -  RELATED LINKS: May 14, 2018 – Two women on e-scooters were hit by a car one year before Brady’s accident. September 7, 2018 – Police Statement “...even when officers see violations, "enforcement's going to be really tricky," particularly during busy special events.”               September 11, 2018 – Celebrity Injured on scooter; no one is immune to this. December 3, 2018 – Video of Accident; the third account of an e-scooter rider being struck by a vehicle five months before Brady. December 6, 2018 – The Vanderbilt Medical Center Trauma ICU Director has expressed concern with trauma; specifically, head injuries, as a result of scooters. May 20, 2019 – Nashville Fire Department Reports 74 scooter-related injuries in 4 months.                                                 - - -  POINTS OF CONTACT: Mayor David Briley                                                                                        Email: Phone: (615) 862-6000 Metropolitan Council Members: Collective Email:  Phone: (615) 862-6780 Individually: E-Scooter Companies:

Tessa Lawson
3,960 supporters
Petitioning Metro Nashville Council, Tanaka Vercher, Colby Sledge

Metro Nashville Leaders: Implement the William Edmondson Homesite Park Masterplan!

February, 2023 Update: Metro Nashville's Planning Department began a series of public meetings on February 28, 2023, to create a Land Use blueprint called the Edgehill Neighborhood Plan. We are urging our local neighbors and supporters over the next six months to attend the meetings and urge Metro Planning to include our Higher Vision Master Plan proposal for the Edmondson Homesite in this critically-important policy document. The William Edmondson Homesite Park & Gardens is a beloved community asset and the community has worked together to create a visionary proposal that envisions this park and historic site as the heart of the neighborhood.  Summer, 2021 update: Thanks to your public outcry, on June 19, 2018, Metro Nashville Council voted unanimously to stop the sale of the Edmondson Homesite, neighborhood park and Community Garden. In May, 2021, we met with Mayor Cooper's top staff to formally present the Higher Vision Master Plan for the William Edmondson Homesite, including the centerpiece, a new William Edmondson Library and Cultural Arts Center, with an Edmondson Homesite historic pavilion and sculpture-garden world-class attraction. Please CONTINUE TO SHARE the petition to urge the Mayor to make the moves necessary to set this plan in motion with cross-departmental cooperation, steered by his leadership. ORIGINAL PETITION LANGUAGE BELOW (2018): Nashville's Mayor plans to immediately sell a neighborhood park, which includes the former homesite of William Edmondson, Nashville's most celebrated African American artist, to private developers to help balance the city budget. If this is approved by Metro Council on June 19, 2018, it will take precious parkland away from citizens, wipe away a historic site, accelerate the destruction of a historic middle- and working-class African American neighborhood, and eliminate a community garden that has served neighborhood families for generations. It will destroy a priceless historical and cultural site that should be preserved and enhanced instead. All with ZERO input from the neighborhood, the historical preservation community, or local or national arts and creative community. It also ignores and disrespects any and all previous land use policy conversations with the neighborhood. Instead of callously erasing this public land, Metro Nashville should be protecting it.  Metro Nashville Council votes on its budget, which will authorize selling the land, on June 19. If it passes, we may lose this precious site forever. If we can stop it, we can at least begin a rational discussion as to how to best preserve and develop the property responsibly, as a proper monument to a great artist and as a living legacy that serves all citizens. Therefore, we petition for the following: 1. Immediate halt of the sale of this public land to for private gain, and a commitment by the Mayor engage in a community-led process on its appropriate development as public greenspace. 2. Transfer to the Parks Department and implement a meaningful master planning process, led by the community, with involvement of all stakeholders of the site; for instance including themed playgrounds, integration with the adjacent branch library, a sculpture garden with landscaping, picnic shelters, and educational interpretive displays to share the stories of William Edmondson and other neighborhood heroes, such as pioneering musician Deford Bailey and early 20th century civil rights activist Callie House. 3. The specific section of the property where William Edmondson's house and studio stood is forever preserved and developed as a site honoring his art and life. 4. The land next to the homesite, which is now parkland and community garden, should be protected as such, and improved via the master planning process. 5. If any other portion of the site is eventually sold to private interests or moved to other governmental agencies such as MDHA, it must be done within a strict and binding community-led planning framework, including firm safeguards of appropriate zoning and land use policies, that will enhance the neighborhood, not further threaten it. BACKGROUND: Edgehill neighborhood is one of Nashville's oldest historically African-American neighborhoods. It began during the Civil War, as a camp for runaway slaves. Later, it became a self-sufficient working class and middle class neighborhood during the decades of segregation. Today, it is under intense development pressure from both private entities and public agencies, that threaten the neighborhood with extinction. Self-taught limestone sculptor William Edmondson was the first African American artist to receive a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1937. He is celebrated worldwide for his simple, but subtle, limestone garden sculptures, which are prized by collectors and sell for as much as $250,000. Edmondson's former homesite, where he lived, created his masterpieces, and died, is currently part of a neighborhood greenspace that includes a playground, basketball courts, picnic area, and a 25 year old community garden that serves children and families with fresh air, fresh fruits and vegetables, and community interaction. Shockingly, Nashville's Mayor suddenly announced plans to rezone and sell this property to private developers "to the highest bidder" to help plug a gap in the city's 2018-2019 budget. This likely means luxury high-rise condos or similar inappropriate development that will wipe away this treasured land, unless it is stopped. To date, there has been very little outreach by the city to the to the neighborhood to inform them, much less to invite participation in the future if the park. Nashville is booming. Development is proceeding at a feverish pace. Affordable housing is getting scarce. This area is already under tremendous gentrification pressure and the very survival of this historic neighborhood is at stake. The effect of eliminating the park in favor of incompatible development would be catastrophic. Loss of the park would be be a huge blow to the neighborhood's vibrancy. Loss of the Edmondson homesite would be an irreversible loss of Nashville's social, cultural, and artistic history. Imagine bulldozing the place where Picasso made his masterpieces.  The sale is part of the Budget that must be approved by Metro Council on June 19.  The eventual process of approvals is complicated and involves many city departments, but once the budget is approved, it becomes much harder to stop this reckless, shortsighted plan that was hatched in secret, and replace it with sound planning that respects the rights all of the citizens. William Edmondson's carved tombstones and garden sculptures spoke to the themes of faith, community, connection to the land, and remembrance. His own grave is lost, leaving his homesite --where he lived, worked, and died-- as the only physical place where he can properly be honored. This is hallowed ground. Please help us save it.    

Mark Schlicher
3,145 supporters