NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, Butch Spyridon usually sings the praises of Music City’s growth.
Now he’s changing his tune.
“Our success is evident,” Spyridon said. “We have to manage our growth.”
A walk down Broadway at any time of day shows a changing landscape.
“Homelessness is probably the number one issue. We need to clean up the downtown area,” Spyridon said. “Sidewalks are already crowded. I’ve got people laying down, you know, vulgar signs. Why is that okay? It shouldn’t be.”
Spyridon acknowledges the country faces a mental health crisis.
“We all have to be sympathetic toward that community,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that you have the right to accost, vandalize, or burglarize.”
He also points out the very district homelessness is hurting may be the solution.
“You got to take care of the business,” Spyridon explained. “Because that’s where the money is going to come from, to help provide the resources for that community.”
There’s an ongoing conversation between the mayor’s office, the Downtown Partnership, and NCVC, but no real plans are in place.
“We haven’t taken it to the council yet, but I feel like we’re gonna have to,” Spyridon said.
It’s all an effort to protect the people who drive the No. 1 revenue stream in our area.
“It’s sad, but we got to take care of it,” Spyridon continued. “Not at the expense of being able to do business as a city, you can do both. I think that’s where the focus has got to be.”
The homeless population isn’t solely responsible for crime downtown. There’s been a call to increase police presence across the board.