MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — Revitalizing the downtown area was the focus of Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland during his 2023 State of the City.

The mayor said several plans have come to the city council about some of the city property on Broad Street. Ideas around revitalization include retail space, a boutique hotel, some office space and residential units.

“We had the Bottoms study and I think it was very beneficial but one of the things is the Bottoms study hasn’t really moved and we haven’t been able to attract people to invest in that area and I think one of the main reasons is because no one lives in that area,” said McFarland. “We have to be able to mix activity coming in with people living downtown. But, we have to be able to mesh that with traffic and all the other things that come along.”

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McFarland said the city is looking at how to provide affordable housing in downtown Murfreesboro where people can choose to live long term.

“Just like the ‘t’ word – taxes. We don’t like to use that word. The ‘a’ word – apartments – people don’t like to hear the apartment word,” McFarland said. “I think if I could go back 25 years ago and I had a magic wand, we would’ve made some different decisions regarding apartments in Murfreesboro and more to not have them stretched out all over on the outskirts of the city. I think density needs to be more centrally located in areas where it’s easy to provide services.”

One Nashville neighborhood providing inspiration is the Gulch. What was once an area of warehouses is now transformed into a mix of businesses and residential spaces. McFarland said that’s a similar goal to what they envision for downtown Murfreesboro — a place that’s walk able for people to live, work, and get entertainment.

“My wife and I went down and we wanted to go see Adam Sandler and we just said we’re going to stay down in the Gulch area so we stayed there for the night, went to a small restaurant, had dinner and we walked everywhere,” said McFarland. “You start looking around that whole area and you look at the different complexes that are there where people live, people are out walking their dogs. I’m not saying we want to turn downtown Murfreesboro into Nashville but I do think that there is the ability to be able to provide some really cool different spots where as you retire you may want to live downtown.”

Another plan is the daylighting of Town Creek and turning it into more of a park or greenway.