Community meetings explore priorities for Nashville’s future

Thirteen topics ranging from public safety to transportation have been rated by 2,100-plus Nashvillians as having highest priority for community attention now and will be the focus of five community meetings across the city April 10-21.

“These ‘top topics’ are being announced well in advance of the five community meetings so that Nashvillians can have time to think about them before attending and offering their own ideas,” said Tom Sherrard, chair of the volunteer planning committee for Nashville’s Agenda 2007.

“The surveys have helped establish what Nashvillians think is most important for attention now, and the community meetings that begin next week will create an open process for discussing action ideas relating to these topics,” he said. “Our hope is that Nashvillians will meet, collaborate and rank compelling new action ideas that will help strengthen the city and make Nashville the best it can be.”

The information from the surveys and community meetings will result in a final report to the community in June.

The priority topics were identified in the new “Survey of Nashvillians” organized by the Nashville’s Agenda 2007 Planning Committee. This two-part survey included 306 random telephone interviews citywide and more than 1,800 responses to an online survey– both using the same questionnaire.

These highest-rated topics have been further organized into five clusters of related topics for breakout groups at each community meeting. Participants who come to these meetings will be asked to select one of the clusters for discussion in breakout groups assisted by experienced facilitators.

The five clusters of related topics are:

Nashvillians at Risk: Public Safety, Poverty, Homelessness
Human Development: Education, Youth, Seniors
New Nashvillians: Immigration, Housing
City that Works: Downtown Development, Transportation, Economic Development
Healthy City: Environment, Health

Participants will meet in small "discussion circles" to brainstorm action ideas together and then rank these the ideas by the most important or promising. At the end, all groups will come back together to hear summaries of the discussion in each group. Each of the five meetings is expected to last about 90 minutes.

Dates and locations for these community gatherings are:

  • April 10 (Tuesday, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.) -- Glencliff High School (cafeteria), 160 Antioch Pike
  • April 12 (Thursday, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.) -- Temple Church, 3810 Kings Lane
  • April 17 (Tuesday, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.) -- St. Henry's School (dining hall), 6401 Harding Pike
  • April 19 (Thursday, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.) -- Litton Middle School, 4601 Hedgewood Dr.
  • April 21 (Saturday,10:00 - 11:30 a.m.) -- First Baptist Church (fellowship hall), 108 Seventh Ave. S.

“We want maximum participation across the city,” Sherrard emphasized. “This series of community meetings will end April 21, so it’s important for Nashvillians to participate now by taking the online survey at and attending one or more of the public meetings,” Sherrard said. “It’s time to revisit what we all think will make Nashville the best it can be in the next period -- so that community leaders in many walks of life can help Nashville make progress toward them.”

Broad-based Participation

“Broad-based participation has been a priority for this agenda-setting project,” Sherrard said. “Our growing population includes many newcomers Nashville is becoming increasingly diverse. The planning committee has made concerted efforts to ensure the participation of Nashvillians from every part of the city and all walks of life.”

In addition to general news coverage and organizational networking citywide, here are some examples of outreach to special populations:

  • A Spanish-language version of the online survey was provided by Conexion Americas
  • Collaboration between teens in the Nashville Youth Leadership program at Oasis Center and the staff of Senior Citizens Inc. – with young people volunteering to help seniors record their responses in the “Survey of Nashvillians”
  • Outreach to minorities, lead by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee
  • Distribution of the survey and meeting information to families in public housing

About Nashville’s Agenda

The first Nashville’s Agenda initiative in 1993 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. The 1993 effort did not include either a telephone or online survey. 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.

A follow-up study in 1999 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 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 said. “Leaders came together from all sectors of the city, not just from government, to facilitate progress toward those 21 goals.”

The initial planning committee members for the 2007 project includes: Tom Sherrard, Sherrard & Roe PLC, planning committee chair; Kent Adams, Caterpillar Financial Services Corp.; Nelson Andrews, Brookside Properties Inc.; Sue Atkinson, Atkinson Public Relations; Pete Bird, The Frist Foundation; Rosalyn Carpenter, Urban League of Middle Tennessee; DeWitt Ezell, formerly of BellSouth/Tennessee; Jose Gonzales, Conexión Américas; Nicholas Holland, CentreSource Technology Solutions; Keel Hunt, The Strategy Group; Roy Hutton, psychologist; Melvin Johnson, Tennessee State University; Lewis Lavine, Center for Nonprofit Management; Ellen Lehman, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; Randy Lowry, Lipscomb University; Ken Roberts, The Frist Foundation; Phil Ryan, Metro Development and Housing Agency; Michael Schoenfeld, Vanderbilt University; Ronal Serpas, Metro Nashville Police Department; John Stern, Neighborhoods Resource Center; Alan Valentine, Nashville Symphony Association; Hershell Warren, Meharry Medical College; Jerry Williams, Leadership Nashville; and Brenda Wynn, office of Congressman Jim Cooper.

Facilitation Team

Team Coordinator

Dr. Roy Hutton – Private Practice, Clinical and Consulting Psychology. Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Team Leaders

  • Dr. Larry Bridgesmith – Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management, Lipscomb University
  • Rosalyn Carpenter – President & CEO, Urban League of Middle Tennessee
  • Dr. Tilden Curry – Dean, School of Business, Tennessee State University
  • Sam Davidson – OYC and Nashville Youth Leadership Coordinator, Oasis Center
  • T.K. Davis – Design Director, Nashville Civic Design Center
  • Jose Gonzalez – Executive Director, Conexion Americas
  • Brenda M. Hunter – Consultant & Former Director, National Extension Leadership Development Program, Tennessee State University
  • Sharon Hurt – Executive Director, Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership
  • Sylvia Hutton – Certified Life Coach
  • Dr. Charla Long – Director, Law, Justice, & Society, Lipscomb University
  • Kate Monaghan – Executive Director, Nashville Civic Design Center
  • Dr. Jim Thomas – Executive Assistant to the President, Lipscomb University
  • Hershell A. Warren – Director of Public Policy and Governmental Affairs, Meharry Medical College
  • Brenda Wynn – Office of Congressman Jim Cooper

Team Members

  • Jacky Akbari – Employer Services Director, Nashville Career Advancement Center
  • Deborah Alexander-Fisher – Vice President, Alexander & Associates Insurance Agency
  • Robert L. Baker – Attorney.  Retired Partner, Baker Donelson Law Firm
  • Megan Barry – Attorney
  • Katina Beard – Director, Institutional Advancement & Community Initiatives, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center
  • Natalie Bradley – Student, Lipscomb University
  • Mickee Carter – Bowdazzle Gift Wrapping
  • Clyde Chesney – Extension Administrator, Cooperative Extension Project, Tennessee State University
  • Brian Christens – Development Project Manager, Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority
  • Dr. Sande Churchill – Executive and Personal Coach
  • Matthew Davis – Davis Potential
  • Rhonda Dunn – Administrator, Knowles Center
  • Deb Palmer George – Consultant
  • Briana Himelrick – Student, Lipscomb University
  • Genma Holmes – Holmes Pest Control
  • Marnie Huff – Margaret Huff Mediation
  • Karen Nash James – Music City Chapter, Links, Incorporated
  • Dawn Rutledge Jones – Nashville Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • Kelvin Jones – Executive Director, Metro Human Relations Commission
  • Becky Kantz – Executive Leadership Coach
  • David Koellein – Development Project Manager, Giarrantana LLC
  • Christine Kreyling – Architecture & Urban Planning Critic, Nashville Scene
  • Joyce Lavery – Executive Director, Community Nashville
  • Omar’an D. Lee – Executive Director, Reach One Teach One
  • Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson – Associate Dean, School of Business, Tennessee State University
  • Stephanie McCullough – Design Assistant, Nashville Civic Design Center
  • Linda McFadyen-Ketchum – Nashville Civic Design Center
  • Rachel Moxley – Training Supervisor, Nashville Electric Service
  • Wesley Paine – The Parthenon
  • Nikki Parram-Thibaud – Financial Analyst
  • William Pugh – President, Northwest Nashville Civitan Club
  • Janet Rachel – Associate Vice President of Human Resources, Meharry Medical College
  • Paula Roberts – Specialist, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Tennessee State University
  • Shannon Romain – Urban League Young Professional
  • Ross Rossman – Scarlet Leadership Institute, Belmont University
  • Remizer Seals – Seals Consulting
  • Joyce Searcy – Executive Director, Bethlehem Centers of Nashville
  • Walter T. Searcy, III – Attorney, WALAR Group
  • Susanna Shumate – Nashville Civic Design Center
  • Lisa Smith – Director of Public Service, School of Business, Tennessee State University
  • Patra Thomas – Marketing Analyst, Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister
  • Lani Wilkeson – Community Foundation
  • Neely Williams – Program Director, Interdenominational Ministers' Fellowship Peniel Initiative
Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

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