NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —The East Nashville Chef Michael True grew up in has changed a lot.
“The question I want to ask is what part of the city is left for the community,” he said.
But when Shugga Hi Bakery and Café’s owner, Kathy Leslie, and her sister, Sandra, came to the neighborhood back in 2016, he saw a glimmer of hope.
“She came and brought a business into a community – a black owned business into a black community that actually serviced her community,” he said.
For seven years, the restaurant brought a new light True said the community needed.
“She brought jazz, (and) brunch,” he said. “She brought a new feel for us to actually change the way we think and feel in our community.”
However, True and others who love this restaurant were worried it might be taken away.
Last month, TriStar Skyline Medical Center submitted an application to build a freestanding ER for $21 million. The location in the application is 1000 Dickerson Road, the current address of Shugga Hi.
Leslie filed a lawsuit against the owner of her building, claiming she was denied the right of first refusal to purchase the property back in December.
News 2 reached out to TriStar Skyline who shared they amended their application recently so their plans for the ER would no longer include the building that houses Shugga Hi.
True is worried about what could happen to this community that’s already changing.
“I’m concerned that if this goes through, they’ll see that as they can do that anywhere they want to now,” he said.
| READ MORE | Latest headlines from Nashville and Davidson County
He and other Shugga Hi supporters have since stepped up to raise awareness about what’s going on, all with the goal of saving something they feel is special to their community.
“Why not allow us to be a staple and keep some foot in our community that’s ever changing,” he said.
News 2 did reach out to Leslie, but has not heard back.
TriStar Skyline did release this statement in regards to bringing an ER to the East Nashville area.
“TriStar Skyline wants to bring needed emergency care to East Nashville. The area continues to be underserved in emergency services and patients are required to travel along congested interstates or navigate downtown traffic to access emergency services. Our freestanding ERs treat all life-threatening emergencies, such as stroke, cardiac arrest and trauma. We believe freestanding ERs provide peace of mind for the community, closer to home.”
TriStar Skyline is holding two community information meetings on Tuesday, March 21, about the new ER.
The first one will be held at McFerrin Community Center at 310 Grace Street in Nashville. The second is at the East Park Community Center at 600 Woodland Street in Nashville. Both meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. and last until 8 p.m.
Community members are also holding two rallies at both of those locations to support Leslie and her business.