Debby Dale Mason's Blog

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  • Informational Session Reviews Upcoming TDOT Construction

    by Debby Dale Mason | May 26, 2015

    Originally built in 1968, the I-40 bridges spanning Herman Street, Clinton Street, Jo Johnston Avenue and Charlotte Avenue in downtown Nashville need immediate attention. To address this infrastructure issue, TDOT is planning a $62 million rehabilitation project beginning this June.

    The project is called Fast Fix 8 -- eight, because there are four twin bridges, and fast, because TDOT will make repairs using an innovative process called Accelerated Bridge Construction. Due to the expedited timeline, the construction will be finished in months, instead of years; however, it will require shutting down I-40 completely for short periods of time over 13 weekends, scheduled June 2015 through June 2016. During the 13 weekend closures, I-40 will be shut down from the I-40/I-65 split on the east side to the I-40/I-24 split on the west side. The Demonbreun Street exit will be kept open for westbound traffic only. The detour will be the same for all 13 weekends.

    As part of our commitment to being an informational resource for area businesses, the Chamber will host TDOT officials on Thursday, June 4, for a presentation and Q & A about the Fast Fix 8 project. Register today for this session.
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    Category: Transit
  • Final NashvilleNext Draft Up For Review

    by Debby Dale Mason | May 26, 2015

    The final draft of NashvilleNext, a 25-year plan to guide our city's growth and development, is now available for public review. The Nashville Area Chamber has participated in the process that includes economic prosperity as a pillar guiding the plan’s implementation.

    Over the last two years, the Chamber has encouraged business involvement in the NashvilleNext process to help shape the plan from the private-sector perspective. Input from the entire community has been crucial to the NashvilleNext process. Sidewalks/walkability, affordable housing, homelessness, congestion and regional mass transit have emerged as primary concerns. 

    To review and comment on the final draft plan, visit, and plan to attend the NashvilleNext public hearing at 3 p.m. Monday, June 15, in the Sonny West Conference Center in Metro’s Howard Office Building, 700 Second Ave. S. The public hearing, part of a special Metro Planning Commission meeting, is the final step before the adoption of NashvilleNext.

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    Category: General
  • NashvilleNext Announces Draft Plan

    by Debby Dale Mason | Mar 30, 2015
    After more than three years of planning, public meetings and presentations, the NashvilleNext draft plan is now available online for public review. As a member of the NashvilleNext steering committee, the Chamber is pleased that economic prosperity is a pillar of the plan that will guide future planning and zoning policy.

    NashvilleNext is a strategic long-range plan built on a foundation of community engagement and the open exchange of ideas. More than 17,000 participants, including those in the business community, have helped shape NashvilleNext through public meetings and community engagement. There's still time for you to be part of the process.

    Community input -- particularly from business leaders -- continues to be vital in guiding the plan for Nashville's future. Visit by April 30 to review the plan and its supporting materials, then share your thoughts via email ( or by responding to an online survey.

    Planners are also hosting five open house meetings across Davidson County where you can provide feedback in person. 
    • Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tennessee State University Avon Williams (Downtown) Campus - Auditorium
    • Monday, April 20, 5-7 p.m., North Nashville Police Precinct and Edmondson Pike Branch Library
    • Monday, April 27, 5-7 ...
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    Category: General
  • Join Nashville's Transit Conversation

    by Debby Dale Mason | Mar 25, 2015
    Nashville's transit future is a top Chamber priority because improved multi-modal transit options are essential to our quality of place -- particularly as Middle Tennessee's population continues growing. We know we have to get transit right in our city and region if we want to continue thriving, and it's important for the entire community to have buy-in.   

    The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has announced nMotion2015, a new long-range strategic planning process that will build on the efforts of NashvilleNext. Public involvement is key to the success of this planning process.

    MTA will host a series of community meetings to engage Nashvillians in the planning process; the first two meetings will both be held Tuesday, April 7. MTA CEO Steve Bland will provide an overview of the planning process, and will also gather community feedback to help define the values and guiding principles MTA can use to develop Nashville's next-generation transit system.

    We encourage employers and employees to get involved and provide your input for nMotion2015, particularly in this important first phase of defining values and guiding principles for MTA. We will keep you updated on nMotion2015 and other opportunities for involvement as this important process continues. Below are the ...
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    Category: Transit
  • Government Strategies Rely On Business Input

    by Debby Dale Mason | Mar 10, 2015

    Both local and state government offices are asking for public feedback to help them define future strategies.

    The Mayor's Diversity Advisory Committee is seeking citizen input about ways to increase employee diversity within Metro Government. Their online survey, which is open to Davidson County residents through March 20, addresses the question of how Metro's workforce can most effectively include and reflect the changing population of Davidson County.

    Additionally, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has opened an online survey to collect feedback from Tennesseans to help shape TDOT's future public involvement strategy.

    We encourage you to participate in these surveys as a member of Middle Tennessee's business community.


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    Category: General
  • Metro Water to Host Public Meeting On Proposed Downtown Flood Wall

    by Debby Dale Mason | Feb 27, 2015
    Earlier this week, Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Water Services unveiled a $100 million plan to build a flood wall in downtown Nashville along the west bank of the Cumberland River.

    The proposed wall would protect the city in the event of a flood even larger than the 2010 flood that caused $2 billion in damages and inundated several downtown blocks for a week. The growth and investment that has taken place downtown since 2010, including major developments in SoBro, would make the impact of any future downtown flooding even more costly.  

    The 2,100-foot-long flood wall will run along First Avenue from the new West Riverfront Park amphitheater to Fort Nashboro. A permanent 900-foot wall will be included within the park, while the remainder of the wall will include removable partitions that could be placed within eight hours. This system, which is is included in the 2015-2016 Metro Capital Improvements Budget, represents a significant investment in Nashville's downtown core that benefits the entire city. 

    Next Tuesday, Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter will hold a public meeting to share the same detailed presentation that was given to media on Feb. 25. Additional engineers and project managers will be on hand ...
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    Category: General
  • Leaders from Other Cities Benchmark Against Nashville

    by Debby Dale Mason | Oct 21, 2014
    As Nashville continues to earn national press for our quality of life, thriving economy and abundant entertainment opportunities, the number of cities and their chambers of commerce looking at our city as a benchmark has increased considerably.

    In the last 18 months, representatives from 15 cities have visited or are planning to visit Nashville, with leadership delegations ranging in size from 40 to 200. Just within the last month, we have welcomed groups from El Paso, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Sacramento and Denver to meet local and regional leaders and learn from our best practices in public education, economic development, public policy, entrepreneurship and placemaking. We are also looking forward to hosting delegations from Richmond and Charlotte in the first half of 2015.

    As a service to these groups, our Chamber helps coordinate their visits, connects them with the right community contacts, and recommends topics, speakers and venues for their agendas.

    Each year, our Chamber takes more than 100 leaders from the Nashville region on the Leadership Study Mission, where we spend three days in another city studying a variety of timely topics identified as community priorities. Our 24th annual Leadership Study Mission will be April 26-28 in Salt Lake City. For more ...
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  • Nashville Mayoral Candidates Discuss Their Views

    by Debby Dale Mason | Oct 10, 2014

    The Nashville Business Coalition hosted the first business-focused mayoral candidate forum of the election season Oct. 9, with Nashville candidates Charles Robert Bone, David Fox, Jeremy Kane and Linda Rebrovick giving their views before a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 300 attendees.

    Each took turns outlining the steps they would take to maintain our city's economic growth while maintaining a competitive business climate. There was broad-based support among the candidates for continuing to aggressively pursue business relocations while continuing to invest in the support systems which will allow small businesses to grow and Nashville to maintain its reputation for entrepreneurship.

    The candidates differed slightly in their answers to addressing the region’s transit needs. Rebrovick called for a broader, regional approach to transit using components of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s comprehensive plan; Kane called for an analysis of whether expanding K-12 students' use of public transportation might ease congestion and raised the possibility of starting over on transportation planning instead of relying on the Amp; Bone stressed that the region is 20 years behind on transportation planning and pointed to the costs of failing to grapple with the issue; and Fox suggested as mayor, he would build a broad community consensus on ...
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    Category: Legislative Issues
  • Your Feedback Guides Regional Transit Planning

    by Debby Dale Mason | Sep 15, 2014
    Guest post by Michael Skipper, executive director, Nashville Area MPO

    Do you take the same route to work every day? We often make this decision unconsciously as we run through our plan for the day in our minds. If you're like most people, you decide as you are leaving the house how you will maneuver through your community based on traffic congestion, construction, the stops you need to make along the way and time of day.

    The reality is that there is a strong correlation between time spent traveling our roadways and our overall quality of life. In addition to your commute to work, the other daily trips you take to run errands, care for family members or meet friends for dinner all create an experience in our day that either improves our health and mobility, or hinders it. This is why the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) needs to know how to improve your daily travels.

    To gather this information, the MPO has launched its 2014 Regional Transportation Survey to gauge transportation priorities in Middle Tennessee. This survey offers participants the opportunity to rate infrastructure needs in their community. Additionally, the survey evaluates access to, or the need ...
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    Category: Transit
  • Transit, Mobility Remain Key Chamber Priorities

    by Debby Dale Mason | Aug 14, 2014
    If you struggle with your daily commute, you're not alone. Traffic is the factor American urban dwellers say they like least about their cities, according to a study released by Sasaki Associates, a Massachusetts-based design and planning firm.

    Though the study was limited to six cities (Austin, Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.), its findings are highly relevant to Nashville, particularly as our city continues to experience rapid growth and its attendant traffic congestion. As we consider Nashville's future, we need to ensure our city is welcoming, accessible and attractive to a wide variety of people. Making it as easy as possible for people to move throughout our region is a key component of that goal.

    While we project our strong economy, high quality of life and low cost of living will continue to make Nashville one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, we need to be smart and strategic about how we plan to accommodate that growth. Earlier this year, the Nashville Business Journal reported on a study that rates Nashville as the 33rd most-congested city in the Western Hemisphere, and the 23rd most-congested city in the U.S. Average commuting times are only getting longer ...
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    Category: Transit