Metro invests in public safety, education, infrastructure, and neighborhoods

Mayor Karl Dean last week released the details of the city’s Fiscal Year 2016 capital spending plan that continues to invest in public safety, education, essential infrastructure and neighborhoods. The $520 million capital spending plan is Mayor Dean’s seventh since taking office. Metro Council will be asked to approve the plan through adoption of an initial bond resolution in connection with its approval of the 2016 operating budget.

“This spending plan reflects our guiding principles to make strategic investments based on the city’s priorities and to inspire private investment; spend capital dollars broadly but wisely in neighborhoods throughout Nashville; boldly embrace new ideas and tackle tough issues; and leave the city better prepared for the future,” Mayor Dean said. “We will strengthen the city by improving our schools, making the largest capital investment in public safety in Metro’s history and putting more money in sidewalks than we ever have at one time.”

The largest portion of the proposed $520 million capital spending plan is $162 million for a public safety initiative that would relocate Sheriff’s Office operations, move Metro Police headquarters to Jefferson Street, move the South Police Precinct to a still undetermined site, and build a Family Justice Center.

A Family Justice Center would provide critical services to crime victims and their families and puts necessary services for victims of sexual assaults, abuse and domestic violence under one roof. Under this public-private partnership, the Metro Police Department’s Criminal Investigations, Domestic Violence and Youth Services divisions will be housed in the Family Justice Center alongside the Nashville Children’s Alliance, prosecutors from the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office and an office of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. The new facility will be built on the site of a former auto dealership on Murfreesboro Road.

The next largest category is Metro Schools at $131 million to renovate Overton High School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School; build a new elementary school in the rapidly growing Cane Ridge area of Southeast Nashville; and provide planning funds for Hillwood High School, Hillsboro High School and Nashville School of the Arts. This investment builds on the $389 million in prior capital spending for Metro Schools since Mayor Dean took office, bringing total capital dollars for Metro Schools to $520 million during this administration.

The city’s infrastructure would get a significant investment with $73 million, including $25 million for sidewalks, the single largest infusion of dollars for sidewalks in any of Mayor Dean’s capital spending plans. Approval of the plan would bring Mayor Dean’s capital spending on sidewalks over the past eight years to $82 million, more than any other administration has spent on sidewalk construction in Metro history. Public Works would also get funds for roads and bridges, as well as paving to continue to improve the conditions of the city’s streets and roads.

Metro Parks would receive $52 million, including $18 million for open space. This includes $14 million for 591 acres for a new park in Southeast Nashville. Greenway projects would receive $5 million: Expansion of the Mill Creek Greenway to help connect recent open space acquisitions and multiple neighborhoods in the area; expansion of the Whites Creek Greenway to connect Hartman Park and Mullins Park; and the start of construction of a new greenway along Interstate 440 that would ultimately run from Hadley Park to Sevier Park.

The capital spending plan includes funds to construct two new community centers: $6 million for one in Madison and $6 million for one in South Nashville on Smith Springs Road. Improvements to the Hadley Park Tennis Center and the Una Recreation Center would also be funded. New matching funds for the Nashville Zoo are also included. The zoo would be required to match the $10 million in funding with privately raised dollars. This attraction has become one of Nashville’s most popular and most visited. It sits on land owned by Metro Parks.