Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
Mayor Dean cut the ribbon to the MCC prior to delivering the State of the Metro Address.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Mayor Karl Dean delivered the State of the Metro Address Monday morning following a ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly opened Music City Center (MCC) in downtown Nashville.
With a theme of "Opportunity for Everyone," he announced a new housing fund and a push for more rapid transit.
The 33 minute speech was before a "who's who" of local business and political leaders just outside the massive Exhibition Hall at the MCC.
"We want Nashville to be known as a city of opportunity for everyone," the Mayor told the crowd of around 1,000. "And I know we can achieve it. We have proven that nothing is out of our reach.
The affordable housing fund being established is named after Reverend Bill Barnes who has long urged mayors from Beverly Briley to, now, Karl Dean for such a fund.
Dean also spent several minutes talking about plans for mass transit in a city where congestion is becoming more of a problem daily.
He said a bus rapid transit system called AMP that could be running in five years from east to east Nashville "will keep your commute to 17 minutes."
The mayor also touched on the growing diversity of Nashville by telling the story of Sudanese refugee Gatluak Thach who came here in the mid-90s and now runs Nashville International Center for Empowerment.
The mayor, though, saved his most impassioned words for education, where the past year has shown battles over charter schools and push for more accountability for top school administrators.
"It's going to get uncomfortable at times for grownups. Things are going to have to change. We can't be guided by the same approach we have had for 30 years," warned the Mayor.
This year's State of Metro differed from previous years in that it did not come with the release of the Metro Budget.
The budget was presented several weeks ago to the Metro Council.
A free open house will also take place at the Music City Center on Monday, followed by a free concert headlined by Nashville resident and Grammy artist Sheryl Crow.