Metro Planning Department wants to hear from those who live, work, and play in Antioch as the community looks to expand.
A series of meetings begins Thursday to talk about future growth, development, and preservation in the south Nashville community.
The Antioch-Priest Lake area is one of the fastest growing areas in the county with at least a quarter of the population under the age of 19. Informal meetings at area high schools have shown that younger people are seeking more retail, places to socialize, and access to local transportation. The requests are not far off from the planning goal of economic development and retail, housing and open space, and transportation.
Metro is divided into 14 communities, or planning districts. Plans for each are redrawn every seven to ten years. Bellevue and North Nashville communities have already had such meetings. In Bellevue, the primary issue was the preservation of open space. In North Nashville, concerns were raised over housing and retail businesses. Antioch has its own challenges.
"Antioch is such a diverse area, so many cultures, so many languages down there," said Metro Planning Department Spokesman Craig Owensby. "It's also physically spread out, very large. And it is the fastest growing part of the county."
"When we did the redistricting last spring, we had some council districts that had grown by over 60%," Owensby continued. "So you've got a big combination of really rapid population growth and diversity and physical location, and that is a very specialized set of conditions just for Antioch."
While Antioch is growing, business is downsizing, especially in the Hickory Hollow Mall area. Most of the stores inside the mall have shutdown. Anchor stores, Sears and Macy's, will be gone by the end of the year.
For quite some time, the community has asked for help to bring business back.
"Sometimes purchasing patterns change. Sometimes travel patterns change, and competition comes in from other nearby areas," Owensby said. "And the mall is one of the issues we're going to be looking at as the plan continues."
The first public planning meeting is Thursday, April 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lakeshore Christian Church on Bell Forge Lane in the Hickory Hollow area. Spanish translators will be available.
Meetings will be held throughout the summer. Public input will be combined with best planning practices in a draft. The draft will be presented to the community for review before final approval by the Metro Planning Commission in late October.
Details and a full schedule are on the Planning Department's Antioch-Priest Lake Community Plan Update Web site.