Flood Protection System Is a Wise Investment

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 be prepared for natural disasters, we must always be prepared for natural disasters that can disrupt lives and economies. That's why we have joined the Nashville Downtown Partnership, Mayor Karl Dean and many local business leaders in urging Metro Council to approve a flood protection system for downtown as a key component of the UFPP. You can use our Business Voice tool to contact your Metro Council representative about the flood protection system. Metro Council will have its final consideration of the plan at their June 9 meeting.

Downtown is the cultural heart and economic engine of Nashville, and it continues to grow as a center of hospitality, commerce and living. Fifty thousand people work downtown, 7,500 people live downtown, and 12 million visit our downtown each year. This downtown core is the economic engine of our county’s property and sales tax growth; though it represents less than 1 percent of Davidson County's land, it generates 18.7 percent of the county's retail production. It is clear that investment by government leaders to protect this area benefits all Nashville residents, and if left unprotected, it could dramatically impact Nashville’s fiscal stability. Protecting downtown is, in our opinion, a wise and strategic investment.

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