Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The New York Times praises Nashville!

A statue of Elvis Presley between souvenir shops in downtown Nashville. The music industry is, in many ways, the bedrock of the city’s economy.

 The New York TimesNashville’s Latest Big Hit Could Be the City Itself

By January 8, 2013, NASHVILLE — Portland knows the feeling. Austin had it once, too. So did Dallas. Even Las Vegas enjoyed a brief moment as the nation’s “it” city. Now, it’s Nashville’s turn.

Here in a city once embarrassed by its Grand Ole Opry roots, a place that sat on the sidelines while its Southern sisters boomed economically, it is hard to find a resident who does not break into the goofy grin of the newly popular when the subject of Nashville’s status comes up.(link)

My Comment: Great piece! I love this city and love to see other people recognize us for the great city we are. I love our music scene, the honky tonks and writers nights, the Grand Ole Opry, and our parks, and historic old neighborhoods, and the Capitol building and Union Station and the Customs House and a lot of other old building, and the little "meat and three's" around town, and all of the ethnic eateries. I like that we have a great symphony and a great symphony hall, I like the Country Music Hall of Fame, the music industry, and being in a city with a lot of universities, and our riverfront, and Art Crawl, and a lot more.

Many of my conservative friends opposed the building of the new convention center. Had I been in the Council, I would have most likely supported it. The details matter in a deal like that so I can't say with certainty, but I buy the idea. When I was in the Council, I supported the building of our current convention center.  I have never regretted that decision. Sure, to build the new mammoth convention center is not without risk. If it is not kept full it could cost us, but any investment is a risk. Recently, Conde Nast Traverler named Nashville one of the top five cities in the world to visit. That says something.  Other cities were Amsterdam, Seoul, New Orleans and Toronto. We are in pretty good company.  I would have opposed building the convention center in my city if I lived in Knoxville, or Asheville, or Lexington. But I think Nashville can do it.

Nashville, must be more than a tourist destination however and we can not put all of our resource downtown and ignore the communities and people who live here. However, I am not joining those who criticize the Mayor for making a capital budget priority the improvement to the backside of Bridgestone Arena. With the investment in the convention center we need to continue to make Nashville attractive to visitors. Conventioneers do not need to walk out of the front of the convention center and see an ugly blank wall. We need to get them to walk out of the convention center and spend money.  We need them to leave Nashville with a positive experience and a desire to return. We must continue to make downtown attractive and convenient.  We also need to encourage more development downtown, especially in the underdeveloped area south of the new convention center.

While doing all of this, we must not give away the store to sports franchises and incentives to entice companies  to stay here or relocate here. We must make sure we are spending the taxpayers dollars wisely. Also, we should not violate the rights of others by engaging in abusive eminent domain condemnations and price fixing.  We do both. We must be careful that we do not raise the tax burden to a level that discourages development and pushes people out of the county.

Overall, I think the city has done a pretty good job of creating what we have.  I think we have had wise land use planning and basically good management and I think our Metropolitan form of government has served us well. We do have our problems, of course. I wish we had a better quality of education, and I worry that we will grow to the point that we lose that character that makes us a unique city. I wish you could still get anywhere in fifteen minutes.  There is always room for improvement, but I would not want to live anywhere else. I choose to live here and feel fortunate that I do.


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1 comment:

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