NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After nearly two years of talks and discussions, Mayor John Cooper unveiled the draft detailing what the future of the East Bank District could look like back in August.
Since then, the city has held numerous meetings looking to get even more feedback from community members.
“As the mayor said, this is an opportunity to create the next great neighborhood in our community, and I think it should be an opportunity for the whole city to participate,” said Clifton Harris.
Harris is the CEO and President of the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.
On Monday, Sept. 26, the organization worked with the city to hold a town hall and address questions from residents in regard to who will pay for everything and how Black and brown people will be incorporated in this process.
“I’m hearing the people of the community want to make sure they have business opportunities along the East Bank so they can see businesses that look like them,” he said.
Harris likes the plan so far but wants to make sure diversity and inclusion are followed through from start to finish.
“This is our opportunity to get it right and be all-inclusive, very diverse but looking at it through an equitable lens to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to participate,” he said.
For Brittany N. Cole, those questions posed are important to her and the development of this plan.
“We know that diversity is a fact,” she said. “It just is. Inclusion is the act, but equity is in the stats.”
Cole not only owns her own leadership development firm but is also the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
She likes the plan but also has questions about how it will incorporate diversity in regard to businesses.
“So, what is the city looking at from a very specific data perspective in terms of how this East Bank development can impact local growing businesses, and really making a commitment to spend with diverse businesses, particularly with the land that Metro uses,” said Cole.
As the city works to finalize the future of the East Bank, Harris says they’ll be around to make sure our community knows all about it.
“The Urban League’s position is that we are telling the people what is actually happening and what is actually occurring,” he said.
The next community meeting will be in partnership with Walk Bike Nashville on Tuesday, Sept. 27. It will take place at Warner Arts Elementary School starting at 6 p.m.
News 2 reached out to Walk Bike Nashville who shared thoughts about the plan so far ahead of the scheduled meeting.
“Tonight’s meeting is an opportunity for Walk Bike supporters to engage directly with the planning department on the walking and biking elements of the Imagine East Bank vision plan. Like many Nashvillians, we have questions. We question the plan’s boldness. We wonder why bike lanes aren’t included on the project’s main street. Is this project transformational? Will it make it significantly easier to move around Nashville without a car? We hope tonight’s meeting is a first step in making the East Bank, and its surrounding neighborhoods, more connected and accessible to all modes of transportation. The East Bank is a 338-acre blank canvas in the center of our city. One way or another, all Nashvillians will be impacted by its development. We have to get it right. We’re pushing for the plan to be as bold as possible, benefiting Nashvillians that rely on their feet, wheelchairs, bikes, and buses to get around town.”
The last meeting, which will address the waterfront and boating community, will take place Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Sonny West Conference Center off 2nd Avenue South.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
The survey gathering input about the draft plan will close on Friday, Sept. 30.
If you would like to fill out the survey, you can find it HERE.