Last updated on May 25th, 2018 at 12:09 pm
The community of Bordeaux has been an area of little to no change for decades. Leaders of ‘Invest in Bordeaux,’ a coalition of residents and community leaders with concern for the lack of the city’s support in the North Nashville community, held a press conference May 17 to present a petition. In the petition, the community asserts its need for development and pledges not to give its “vote to any mayoral candidate who is not fully committed, as we are, to bring about a prosperous and thriving Bordeaux.”
In a rare sign of solidarity, four of the five District 1 council contenders were present: Sylvester Armor, Gwen Brown-Felder, Dr. Judy Cummings, and Jonathan Hall. Also present were District 5 Councilman and candidate for District 54 State Representative, Scott Davis; District 2 Councilman DeCosta Hastings; Don Majors of the NAACP; mayoral candidate Carol Swain; Invest in Bordeaux members Tores McClain and Dan Lane; as well as other concerned community members.
“This is an example of how bipartisan unity can produce amazing results,” said Jonathan Hall.
According to Hall, the problem is that the Bordeaux community has not received the same amount of investment the city has shown other areas.
“We cannot continue to claim to be the ‘It City’ while entire neighborhoods are struggling due to a lack of parity,” Hall said.
Hall pointed to a recent report on ‘minority participation and procurement’ with the city budget to exemplify his point.
“Only two percent during this boom has gone to minority businesses,” he said. “This has happened during an unprecedented boom, and this is unacceptable.”
“We want revitalization versus gentrification. We want mixed income housing, a place safe to live, sit down restaurants, shops and improved schools and parks,” said 40-year Bordeaux resident Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings. Cummings says that she wants to make sure the same opportunities afforded to the rest of the city are provided to District 1.
Cummings also said that it is time for local businesses to step it up in the community.
“If you notice, in District 1 we have a Kroger, but it is not the type of Kroger we want,” said Cummings. “It’s a ‘C’ rated store. It’s time for us to have an ‘A’ rated Kroger. That Kroger has been in this community for 30 years, and it has not invested in this community. We want those businesses that are here to invest in and positively impact this community.”
Terri Short, a long time resident of the community, says that the area needs major change. She and her colleagues are helping what she calls the “people with power” visualize what the area needs. The original plan was to put high rises or tall buildings like in downtown Nashville, but that wasn’t what she and her neighbors had in mind.
“When they asked the people in the meeting what they wanted, none of their plans included high risers,” said Short.
“We want mid height buildings clustered around the area and better businesses and sit down restaurants—the essentials to a nice town feeling.”
Residents say that they are tired of the money going to places like Germantown and the Gulch who don’t need as much as neighborhoods like Antioch or Bordeaux.
“Our dollars are green too. And we want to have retail, sit down restaurants,” said Short.
Torres McClain, a developer who lives in Bordeaux, said that he saw where the city invested over $100 million in Germantown and $80 million in the Gulch. “Bordeaux redevelopment got less than $5 million,” he said. “We are demanding that the city invest in line with the other areas of the city.”
Mayoral candidate Carol Swain said: “One of the priorities of the mayor of Nashville should be to focus on the collective parts of town and make sure they are getting the same services as the rest of the city.”
Councilman Scott Davis who is also the president of the Minority Caucus, threatened to suspend the budget if proper funding is not provided to the community.
“We’re going to move this community forward-even if we have to hold the budget up for 30 more days. We are going to get the infrastructure that we need out here. It’s time to stop talking and start doing something in our community.”
In the fifth district, Scott was able to promote positive development using minority developers in a field that was previously only reserved for Caucasians. In fact, Davis brought one of those developers with him to help with a community issue following the press conference.
Don Majors, chairman of the NAACP Economic Development Committee, is working with Davis who sponsored procurement legislation to increase minority participation with city procurement.