Wedgewood-Houston councilman looking into helping businesses with growth

Nashville 2019

Have you driven through Wedgewood-Houston lately? While the name –and the growth happening there–is relatively new, the district near old Greer Stadium has been a residential area for decades. 

“It’s a totally different place from where I grew up, or even lived five years ago,” said Daniel Douchette, who’s worked at Fork’s Drum Closet for 15 years.

“We had to move out of where we were for 26 years on 12th Avenue because 12th Avenue expanded at such a rate that we just couldn’t keep up with,” Douchette said, “You know, the space, our customers couldn’t find parking, it inhibited sales greatly a lot, until we moved and everybody can get to us easily.”

Now Fork’s is on Chestnut Avenue in Wedgewood-Houston, an area also changing more and more every day.

“Even now, we’ve been here since October and things have popped up that weren’t there. This town is just at break-neck speed,” Douchette said.

Now that it will be the home of the new Major League Soccer stadium, a lot of other types of businesses are also converging on the area, including bars, restaurants, distilleries and more. It’s also home to Nashville’s growing art scene. 

“It’s booming,” District 17 Councilmember Colby Sledge told News 2, “For instance, what used to be an old car tow lot is now a giant cidery. It’s a new introduction of businesses, we do have some condos and multifamily… but it tends to be more about whole industrial or neglected areas that have been revitalized.”

To help his district, Councilman Sledge is looking into the possibility of a business improvement district.

“Wedgewood is a big sort of arts and cultural district, but we don’t have neighborhood level business improvement districts right now,” he told News 2.

Essentially, businesses would sign a petition, accepting an extra fee based on their assessed property value.

“When you get your property tax bill, you have an additional fee that everyone’s agreed to that you pay, and then the trustee’s office pays that out every month so that they can have staff [and] so that they can promote the area,” Sledge explained. “If there’s something they want to do where they want to clean up the area a little more, they can hire employees or contract employees, so it’s a way to kind of give an extra layer of support.”

Currently, Central downtown (CBID) and the Gulch (GBID) are business improvement districts on a much bigger scale.

In Wedgewood-Houston, businesses told News 2 they’re not necessarily keen on more taxes, but they’re willing to listen. 

“There would have to be, for somebody like me in my opinion, a lot more transparency to justify the continued raising of those kinds of things because they’re raised constantly already and it seems like it’s never ever enough,” Douchette said.

Sledge clarifies that Wedgewood-Houston will not become a business improvement district without businesses’ approval. It could also have even smaller boundaries. 

They are just beginning to start the conversation. It could be months before a plan is proposed.

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