Council signs off on plan to use $7M in federal relief money for riverfront development

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 10:36pm

The Metro Council signed off Tuesday night on a plan to move more than $7 million in federal flood relief money to riverfront development on the west bank downtown.

The plan, which was approved by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency’s Board of Commissioners a week ago, reallocates a total of $8.3 million from a $33 million grant the city received from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development after the May 2010 flood. It will require final approval from HUD.

Metro officials have said the $7 million designated for riverfront development will go toward flood mitigation, which could include a promenade and a flood wall. The remaining $1.3 million will be spent as part of the construction of a new 35-unit affordable housing development on Jefferson Street.

The council rejected an amendment proposed by Councilman Robert Duvall that would have diverted $1 million of the funds designated for riverfront development to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, to repair damage sustained on the grounds during the flood.

Duvall, a council member rarely deterred by long odds, explained that at the time of the flood, Metro’s Department of General Services was instructed to assess the damage and only make repairs necessary to continue the operation of the fairgrounds through December 2010, after which the property was to be closed. As a result, Duvall said a number of things remain unrepaired, a situation which he urged council members to address.

“This past weekend, we had 11,000 people at the fairgrounds,” he told members. “Nowhere else in this city were 11,000 people gathered for an event. Seventy-two percent of the people voted, on the referendum, to keep the fairgrounds — remember that. Remember that they want to keep the fairgrounds. This is a way for us to take the federal flood money and invest it in something that the people of Nashville want to keep.”

Duvall’s amendment did attract some supporters, as well as other members who expressed support for the idea, but noted that a separate proposal for funds for repairs at the fairgrounds might be a better route. Ultimately, it failed on a voice vote.

In other council action:

• The council gave final approval to the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, the affordable housing trust fund announced by Mayor Karl Dean in his State of Metro address. Named for Edgehill Methodist Church founding pastor and longtime affordable housing advocate Rev. Bill Barnes, will be established with about $3 million from existing grants.

It will be overseen by a newly created seven-member Metro Housing Trust Fund Commission, which will award grants to fund “renovation or construction of affordable homeownership and rental opportunities, project-based rental assistance, and other supportive efforts to encourage affordability” according to the mayor’s office. Specific criteria for awarding the grants will be developed by the commission and approved by the council.

The Dean administration has said it expects the fund to create 300 affordable housing units each year, and that it will be ongoing. In an interview with The City Paper last month, Dean said his “plan would be for upcoming years would be to put money in the capital budget to fund it.”

12 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 7/17/13 at 5:11

Sure they did! That is what they were told them to do.

By: Kelliente on 7/17/13 at 8:54

Good on Duvall for trying. It seems reasonable to me send some of the money meant for flood repair to repair actual FLOOD DAMAGE rather than building a housing unit, which has nothing to do with the flood. I can't understand why the council wants to kill the fairgrounds so hard when they know the people want them to stay fairgrounds.

By: bfra on 7/17/13 at 9:06

Because King Karl tells the council to jump & they say "how hi, sir"!

By: Left-of-Local on 7/17/13 at 9:58

Duvall's a jackass. And uninformed and ignorant one at that.

NAMM blew this loose estimate of hillbilly attendance out of the water for far more scope and benefit than the fairgrounds could hope to.

By: bfra on 7/17/13 at 10:07

Left of Loco, what is NAMM?

By: yucchhii on 7/17/13 at 10:12

Approved only 35 units for "Affordable housing"? Of course "AFFORDABLE" means the RICH can "AFFORD" to live there. Still, when is the MDHA going to come up with housing for people who "CAN'T" afford anything? Still, they want to sweep the dirt under the carpet. Let me ask something here.... What happens after a considerable amount of time after sweeping dirt under the carpet time after time after time after time? The dirt piles up...right? Then what? it starts to show mounds where the carpet is covering over the dirt. So then what are you going to do...stomp on it to flatten it? You can only put so much dirt in a container then it's going to be OBVIOUS!! So you ignore the homeless issues as it keeps getting BIGGER AND BIGGER and finally the situation gets TOO BIG to ignore, so you do what? Have the police arresting homeless for BEING THERE!! They make up charges to mess with them thinking it's going to make the issue go away....GO AWAY..WHERE? So you spend your money on everything else BUT what it NEEDS to be spent on!!! Go ahead, ignore it some more. You'll eventually put yourself in that hole your trying to fill!!! Don't believe it? Keep it up and find out!!!

By: PKVol on 7/17/13 at 10:28

Left-of-Local - name calling always gives a post credibility. I assume you're saying that the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show at the MCC had more than 11,000 in attendance, which, if true, is nice and a fact that Mr. Duvall should have been aware of, but it still does not take away from the attendance at the Fairgrounds Speedway and the Expo Center events at the Fairgrounds on Saturday.

I was at the Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday night, I don't know how many hillbillies were there, but I would say 11,000 people is a fair estimate of how many were in the grandstand. I was there for the June race as well and would say the attendance then was about 5,000. The race last weekend had $5 admission, which is half-price of the normal adult ticket price, so that drew in a lot of folks.

The fact is that the Fairgrounds attracts a lot of people to events that would have no other place to be presented in Davidson County. Sure you can send the events to Sumner, Williamson or Wilson Counties, but what good does that do Davidson County. If the Fairgrounds are developed as Mayor Dean would desire, it would be another Metro Center / Fountain Square, a lot of promises without the level of results expected.

By: Oy Vey on 7/17/13 at 11:26

11,000 to watch races at the Fairgrounds?

Photo, or it didn't happen

By: whitetrash on 7/17/13 at 12:57

Beyonce one of the World's biggest Pop Stars performed at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night in front of 20,000 plus fans. The avg. ticket price was estimated between $50 and $75. Outside of Bridgestone along Broadway probably another 10k to 15k people checking out the nightlife and shops. What do you think the concert goers did after the Beyonce show? I would imagine most of them stayed downtown and spent lots of money! The bar I manage was packed from 8:00 p.m. until we started getting ready to close around 2:00 a.m. We did gross sales of around $20,000.

Councilman Robert Duvall must live under a big a$$ rock!

By: bfra on 7/17/13 at 3:02

What was at the big ole $$$$$$ MCC? Was it vacant?

By: bfra on 7/17/13 at 3:05

whitetrash, are you talking about the worlds biggest overrated piece of trash at Bridgestone? Did she do her hunchie pussie in your face? Not being vulgar, just describing what trash does all the time on TV.

By: kevin47881 on 7/17/13 at 6:47

Government housing is nothing more than whitey keeping the black man down and under his thumb.