MT. JULIET, Tenn. - Most cities in Tennessee have a downtown, older cities might even have a town square. New cities like Mt. Juliet are missing these key features, but thanks to some city leaders that could change.
There really isn't a downtown area in Mt. Juliet. And it's a problem that's bothered city leaders, like Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty, for years.
"We've really never had a downtown district. We've been trying to create one," said Hagerty.
The city has installed park benches, banner poles and new signs up and down Mt. Juliet Road. Now, the Mayor and other city leaders have chosen a spot near the Music City Star railroad tracks at Division and Mt. Juliet Road for a city center or downtown.
"When you travel to other cities you often see a signature piece that readily identifies where you are," explained Hagerty.
Mayor Hagerty used his State of the City address to unveil a proposal to build a monument and park in the new downtown. An artist's drawing shows an amphitheater with water fountains.
"It will be a great place where people can just enjoy and have an ice cream cone, let their kids play in the water and just sit and enjoy a nice day. People who work there can have their lunch there and enjoy it," he said
Part of the downtown district will include a new city hall in a funeral home on Mt. Juliet Road. The city is swapping land across the street for the building. The old city hall will house only the police department, which will be just down the street from the new downtown district.
In the last twenty years, Mt. Juliet has been ranked either first, second or third fastest growing city in the state. As one person put it, a downtown might be long overdue.
"I think as it's growing it probably needs to have one," said local resident Desiree Gilbert
Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty's proposal calls for a 50-50 split of city money and private money to pay for the monument and park. He said if the city's Board of Alderman approves the proposal it will take at least a year to get the project off the ground.