A non-partisan group of Nashville volunteers has launched a follow-up to the 1993 citywide goal-setting project known as Nashville’s Agenda to gauge again what Nashvillians think is needed to “make Nashville the best it can be.”

“This new initiative is to update what the city’s goals ought to be now, for the next decade, with as many Nashvillians as possible participating,” said community leader Tom Sherrard, founding partner of Sherrard & Roe PLC and chair of the volunteer planning committee. “The original Nashville’s Agenda process was extremely successful in identifying what people thought was most important for our city. We want to involve Nashvillians from every part of the city and all walks of life. Our goal is maximum participation across Davidson County.”

The new Nashville’s Agenda 2007 project is supported by a $50,000 grant from The Frist Foundation. The planning committee is working with Perdue Research Group for the initial phase of the project, which involves a two-part “Survey of Nashvillians” – telephone surveys of 300 households and also an online survey to begin Monday, March 12, and continue through Saturday, April 21. To participate in the survey, all Davidson County residents are encouraged to visit the Web site at http://www.nashvillesagenda.org/s.asp?u=971783363178 to participate in the survey.

The second phase of the project will be a series of five public meetings across the city in April to discuss “ideas for action” relating to the top-most issues for the future. Dates and locations for these community gatherings are:  

  • April 10 (Tuesday, 6 p.m.) -- Glencliff High School, 160 Antioch Pike
  • April 12 (Thursday, 6 p.m.) -- Temple Church, 3810 Kings Lane
  • April 17 (Tuesday, 6 p.m.) -- St. Henry's School Dining Hall, 6401 Harding Pike
  • April 19 (Thursday, 6 p.m.) -- Litton Middle School, 4601 Hedgewood Drive
  • April 21 (Saturday,10 a.m.) -- First Baptist Church, 108 Seventh Avenue South 

A final report to the community is expected in mid-June, summarizing the new set of goals and actionable ideas for the city.

The 1993 project was organized by a broad-based group of Nashvillians who were initially brought together by the late E. Bronson Ingram. More than 2,000 Nashvillians participated in that earlier process -- gathering in 26 public meetings over five months. That project also was supported by a grant from The Frist Foundation, in-kind contributions from many Nashville businesses and institutions, and hundreds of volunteers. In January 1994, the project published “Nashville’s Agenda, 21 Goals for the 21st Century,” a wide-ranging set of goals and action ideas for Nashville.

“The face of Nashville is much different than it was 14 years ago,” said Sherrard. “Our growing population includes many newcomers and is becoming increasingly diverse. So, it’s time to revisit what we all think will make Nashville the best it can be in the next period – and clarify our goals so that community leaders in many walks of life can help Nashville make progress toward them.”

A follow-up study in 1999, five years after Nashville’s Agenda was published, determined that Nashvillians had achieved results on more than 60 percent of the recommended “ideas for action” through private efforts, public initiatives and, most often, through a partnership of the two. A partial list of accomplishments influenced by the Nashville’s Agenda goals includes: the Nashville Housing Fund; the Davidson Group; new police bike patrols downtown; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; greenways and sidewalks; and the Nashville Youth Leadership (NYL) program.

“These accomplishments were the work of many people and institutions, with everyone in agreement that it didn't matter who got the credit,” Sherrard explained. “Leaders came together from all sectors of the city, not just from government, to facilitate progress toward those 21 ambitious goals.”

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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