NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s democracy at work.
As part of Mayor John Cooper’s participatory budget, residents submitted about 280 proposals on how $2 million should be spent on infrastructure in Bordeaux and North Nashville. The deadline for submissions was Sunday.
“Only those that live in Bordeaux/North Nashville that are residents in Bordeaux/North Nashville will be able to vote on these ideas,” said Rachel Bell, General Sessions Court judge. She is also the chair of the 2021 Participatory Budgeting Project Steering Committee.
"You got to start somewhere and starting somewhere at least allows us to move forward,” said Bell. "There’s no way that you can turn a blind eye to the ideas of constituents and the ideas that they think will be able to better serve this community.”
"So now this is an opportunity to be at the table to give your ideas so you will know what’s going on,” said Bordeaux resident Ruby Baker.
She admits while $2 million doesn't cover everything residents want to be done, it’s a start. "But there are some traffic calming things that can be done: speed bumps or speed humps or those soft speed things to kind of calm the traffic," she said. "We could do the big-ticket items but if we just try to start with the low-hanging fruit that’s what I think this $2 million will reach."
Meanwhile, 40-year Bordeaux resident Dr. Judy Cummings would like the money spent on things like art and parks.
"Once you get out here and you drive around you see the difference and it only takes just a few blocks to see the difference that is made in infrastructure," said Cummings. "So the lack of infrastructure here in North Nashville is obvious.”
She hopes this opportunity will open the door to future investments. "It is well known — it’s been researched — that North Nashville is an area of Davidson County that has been disenfranchised for years."
Now that the deadline for submissions has passed, participatory budgeting delegates will narrow down the ideas to 25. Of those 25, residents ages 14 and up will vote to select five of those ideas which will be presented to Metro Council.
"It is important that the people who live work and play in North Nashville have an opportunity to decide what it may shape up to look like," said Cummings, and they could see what those ideas look like as soon as next year.
Participatory budgeting delegates will consider the following criteria as they narrow down ideas:
- Self-sustaining for a certain period not requiring ongoing maintenance/labor/costs (no operating budget match required)
- Under $2 million
- Provide primary benefit for the public-at-large
- Provide a tangible, permanent benefit that allows for broad public access
- Design to accomplish goals and fulfill purpose without further funding past the initial investment
- Are capital infrastructure, capital improvement or durable projects
- $50,000 or higher and the lifespan of at least ten years