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Mayoral Candidates On How They'd Pursue Flood Wall, Jail, Police HQ

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Posted at 10:12 PM, Jun 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:20:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn - After the mayor was dealt a triple defeat last night, three controversial projects have been handed to Nashville's future administration.

So what will the mayoral candidates do about a flood wall? Or moving the jail and the police headquarters?

NewsChannel 5 sent requests to all seven candidates for how they would move forward with the projects.

Jeremy Kane, Bill Freeman and Megan Barry appeared in person for interviews.

On the flood wall:

KANE: "That’s just one piece of a larger flood protection system. I’ve called for a both-and approach. It’s not an either-the-flood-wall or something different. We need the flood wall downtown. We need a flood protection system, a first alert system, but we need investments in Pennington Bend and Bellevue and Mill Creek. That’s where I would start is the community conversation. Because we could have a flood this weekend, the danger does not go away just because we passed on this vote."

FREEMAN: "The river has nine different bends as it comes through the county. Bellevue flooded. Areas all around the county flooded. We need to concentrate on the major problem which was the Old Hickory Dam and the water that came from farther upstream and try to get that problem solved for the entire community not just downtown."

BARRY: "That’s a vote I was sorry to see go down because I do think that we need to make sure we are protecting not only downtown but all of Nashville. And I’m going to work with the water department and the next council to make sure we can provide that protection."

On the jail and police headquarters move:

KANE: "I’m glad the council, before it left last night, did appropriate the money for renovations downtown. I think that’s the important piece. Antioch spoke loud and clear that they did not want the jail relocated to their neighborhood. But we do have an existing jail. We have some immediate needs that we need to take care of and make sure our sheriff’s department is safe. I think with Jefferson Street we need to have a larger conversation about the investments we’re going to make, not only on Jefferson Street but in Buchanan, Bordeaux and North Nashville generally."

FREEMAN: "I’m a big fan of Sheriff Hall’s and I’m interested in what he has to say. But I think the community needs to know more about it. We need to hear more about it, look at the plans. I think we can still get this done but maybe not as quickly as he wanted it done. But I think it will happen sometime next year. I’ve got another site that the city already owns in the Cockrill Bend area near the women’s prison which would be a great site. The city owns about 50 acres in that area. I just don’t think there was enough community discussion about it."

BARRY: "I’m encouraged to hear today that the sheriff has actually said he’s looking at renovation. I think we want to keep those services close for folks to be able to access their lawyers and transit. I want to work with the sheriff and I think we’ll be able to do that."

Charles Robert Bone and Linda Eskind Rebrovick did not appear for interviews but sent the following statements:

CHARLES ROBERT BONE: “These are important issues, but we should learn from this experience that leadership has important stages, only the first of which is vision. Explaining the vision and earning community support are just as important. The people in our neighborhoods and communities matter. We need to ensure that we seek collaboration and solicit community input on big capital projects. As mayor, I’ll seek to be bold enough to maintain our momentum and responsible enough to diversify our prosperity and investments for all of Nashville.”

LINDA ESKIND REBROVICK: “The three controversial issues that were removed from the budget by Metro Council last night – the relocation of our jail, the construction of a new police precinct on Jefferson Street and the proposed downtown flood wall – are clear signs that Metro can make improvements in the decision-making process for large projects that affect the community.

In order to avoid divisive debates that ultimately cost tax-payer dollars and Metro resources, I would focus on three areas of improvement as Mayor.

First, we need an inclusive process to make decisions that will have a direct impact on our neighborhoods and residents. Town hall meetings, communications with nonprofit and faith leaders and the use of technology should all play a role in that two-way communication.

Second, we need involvement by Metro council at the beginning and throughout the process to review proposals and potential alternatives, and then to communicate back to their constituencies so everyone better understands the decision-making process.

Lastly, we must ensure that we have diversity in Metro leadership and its departments so that all of Nashville's communities are represented at the table.”

Responses and interviews are listed in the order they were received.

David Fox and Howard Gentry did not respond to NewsChannel 5's request for an interview.