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Metro Council to Consider Increased Investment in a Clean and Safe Downtown
Gretchen Bryant, Nashville Downtown Partnership
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 27, 2021
METRO COUNCIL TO CONSIDER INCREASED INVESTMENT IN A
CLEAN AND SAFE DOWNTOWN
Central Business Improvement District to pursue additional resources to meet downtown’s growing needs
May 27, 2021, Nashville, Tenn. – As downtown rebounds from the pandemic and continues to welcome new employers, the Metro Council will vote June 1 on a resolution (RS2021-XXX) to provide additional resources to enhance downtown’s safety and cleanliness. The proposal increases the sales tax collected inside the downtown core by one quarter cent ($0.0025).
The additional funding will allow for several investments to benefit downtown employees, residents and visitors:
- Immediate supplemental resources to provide for additional police, fire and emergency services to contribute to a safe and secure environment and respond to incidents in the downtown core;
- An expanded fleet of experienced Downtown Ambassadors, who will train alongside Metro Nashville Police Department officers to implement public safety strategies such as regular patrols, education, collaboration and enforcement to protect community members.
- Cleaning programs to adequately address chronic issues like trash and graffiti, and provide more street cleaning services;
- Beautification in high visibility outdoor areas to encourage residents and visitors to spend more time enjoying the enhanced environment.
“There is widespread business and merchant support for this resolution; they’re essentially willing to tax themselves to guarantee access to resources that are necessary to successfully run a downtown business” said Tom Turner, President and CEO of the Nashville Downtown Partnership. “This is essentially the equivalent of 2 cents on each $8 burger, or other similar item, sold downtown. The Downtown Partnership has been in the business of keeping downtown clean, safe and attractive for 27 years. In that time, our city has changed tremendously. We’re identifying and responding to our changing needs, and creatively sourcing how best to make the investment that we all need in downtown.”
The downtown core, or Central Business Improvement District, includes Davidson County’s largest business and tourism districts, and has unique needs due to density and the rich diversity that makes downtown desirable among a wide cross-section of groups. If approved, the tax increase would start July 1 on specific goods sold at downtown businesses. The resolution is supported by downtown businesses, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership will manage the funds in the key three areas of safety, cleanliness and beautification. A diverse set of downtown businesses will oversee and approve expenditures from the fund and will collaborate with partners at Metro Nashville, MNPD, and Metro Fire on long term goals for comprehensive safety and security downtown.
Ryman Hospitality, one of the largest private investors in Nashville’s hospitality industry, is part of a coalition of downtown businesses supporting the increased fee. “Our company is forecasting an enormous uptick in domestic leisure travel this summer and Nashville is poised to take advantage after the toughest year on record for our industry” said Ryman CEO Colin Reed. “It’s absolutely critical that both residents and visitors alike enjoy a clean and safe environment when they go downtown and our company is pleased to contribute significantly to this collective effort to ensure our success.”
Councilmember Freddie O’Connell of District 19 is sponsoring the resolution. O’Connell said, “Metro and private-public partners like the Nashville Downtown Partnership and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp have done a tremendous job responding to and managing extreme growth. But we’re in the business of improving our community, and there are certainly gaps to fill and to anticipate. This is a smart and quick solution to a not-yet huge problem. Funds will allow us to dispatch more safety teams and street cleaning teams so we can be proactive and strategic while we continue to build on our already great center city.”
“As we welcome visitors back to Music City, we need to make a good impression with a clean, safe and attractive downtown,” said Butch Spyridon, President and CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “Every destination in the world is vying for visitors as normalcy returns, and it is important we get the basics of safety and cleanliness right. That’s the only way that our visitors can fully enjoy all our downtown offerings, including the National Museum of African American Music, Fifth + Broadway, new hotels and more dining, along with several major events that will be hosted downtown.”
Expanded investment downtown is necessary to keep up with growth:
- Downtown is home to 14,000 residents (expected to grow by 59% by 2029), 78,000 employees (expected to grow by 46% by 2029), and 12,000 hotel rooms (expected to grow by 46% by 2029);
- In 2020, the Partnership increased its trash collection volume by 83%, changing its approach to more fully augment Metro services to keep up with demand to include before, during, and after trash collection on largescale event days
- Annually, the Safe team provides assistance/directions to 75K+ individuals/pedestrians
About Nashville Downtown Partnership
Organized in 1994, the Nashville Downtown Partnership is a private-sector nonprofit corporation and membership organization whose core purpose is “to make Downtown Nashville the compelling urban center in the Southeast in which to LIVE, WORK, PLAY and INVEST.” The Nashville Downtown Partnership works to advance the downtown experience for residents, employees, businesses and visitors alike. From its Clean and Safe teams to effective collaboration with public and private leaders to identify and implement resources that serve all of downtown, the Nashville Downtown Partnership enhances Nashville’s economic vitality and manages sustainable growth. For more information, visit nashvilledowntown.com.