Debby Dale Mason's Blog

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  • Coalition: Amendment 3 Is a 'Hidden Tax' For Davidson County

    by Debby Dale Mason | Jul 02, 2015

    The Coalition for Fair Employment in Middle Tennessee, a group representing the employers of tens of thousands of workers in the building and construction industries, formed this week in opposition to the proposed Charter Amendment 3, an initiative which requires any builder or construction company working on a Metro-funded project with a budget of more than $100,000 to devote at least 40 percent of the project’s work hours to employees who live in Davidson County.

    Members of the coalition, which include the Nashville Area Chamber and a variety of engineering, architectural and construction organizations, are working to inform Davidson County voters on the proposed amendment's potential negative impact in terms of costs, construction delays and difficulty of enforcement.
     
    • Amendment 3 sounds good in theory, but in practice, would become a "hidden tax" on Davidson County taxpayers. Passage of this proposal would reduce the number of bidders on public projects in Nashville, add compliance costs for contractors, and lengthen the amount of time needed to staff and complete construction projects. All these factors would result in additional costs passed on to taxpayers.
    • If passed, the measure would be costly and difficult – if not impossible – to enforce. The proposal ...
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  • Flood Protection System Is a Wise Investment

    by Debby Dale Mason | Jun 02, 2015
    Five years ago, Nashville faced a crisis that tested our character as a city. We'll never forget the flooding that killed 10 people, damaged $2 billion worth of property and disrupted $3.6 billion in commerce.

    The work to mitigate future flooding throughout Nashville is addressed in our city's Unified Flood Preparedness Plan (UFPP). That plan, developed by Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon in 2013, looked at flood damage caused by the Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers and several of their tributaries, and identified 22 damage center locations that could benefit from flood damage reduction solutions. Since the implementation of the UFPP, our city has spent approximately $139 million on flood recovery and mitigation throughout Davidson County.

    As an organization that positions Nashville as an outstanding place to create jobs and prosperity, the Chamber supports the UFPP as an investment in our future. The economic loss throughout our city from a flood cannot be underestimated, particularly as Nashville is enjoying such robust growth. We know the implementation of this county-wide plan will occur over decades and cost millions of dollars, but it is a necessary investment in our city's long-term growth.

    As with any city founded along a river, we must always ...
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    Category: Legislative Issues
    Tags: flood
  • Regional Leadership Summit Examines Transit Issues

    by Debby Dale Mason | Jun 01, 2015

    The need for regional transit solutions is a top community concern, as well as one of the key priorities for the Nashville Area Chamber. Transit is a major economic development driver and has an important impact on our quality of life.

    With this in mind, Cumberland Region Tomorrow has announced that its annual POWER OF TEN summit will focus on transportation. Titled "Getting There from Here: More Transportation Choices and Connections for All of Us," the event will be held Thursday, June 18.

    The Chamber is one of the community partners of this leadership event, which attracts more than 600 key Middle Tennessee business and community leaders to learn, connect and collaborate on the challenges and opportunities facing the 10-county Middle Tennessee area.

    This year's featured speakers include:

    • Joseph Kopser, CEO of RideScout
    • Steve Bland, CEO of RTA/MTA
    • Michael Skipper, executive director of the Nashville Area MPO
    • Toks Omishakin, deputy commissioner of planning and environment at TDOT
    • Al Biehler, former secretary of PennDOT
    • Mayor Ken Moore, chair of the Middle Tennessee Mayors' Caucus

       

    This summit is a timely opportunity to hear from experts about regional mass transit solutions. For details and registration, visit 10power.org.

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    Category: General
  • 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 nashvillenext.net, 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 NashvilleNext.net by April 30 to review the plan and its supporting materials, then share your thoughts via email (info@nashvillenext.net) 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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