Proposal calls for $70M in COVID relief funds to help Nashville minority-owned businesses

Jefferson Street Sound Museum.jpeg
Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 19:22:52-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — There's a new push to help fund and sustain minority owned businesses in North Nashville.

A group of Metro Council members are hoping COVID relief dollars can be enough to help many of them stay open.

The resolution proposed by Council members Kyonzte Toombs, Sharon Hurt, Brandon Taylor and Jonathan Hall calls for $50 million to be used over two years for economic development of Jefferson Street and Bordeaux and North Nashville communities.

An additional $20 million would assist with the Nashville Small Business Recovery Program to support local economic development by maintaining small business operations and creating and retaining employment in Nashville.

"I'm a nonprofit and right now I'm struggling," said Lorenzo Washington. "I haven't struggled like this in 11 years, but I am afraid of what could possibly happen to this business, and we need what we're doing over here at Jefferson street Sound Museum."

Washington can iterate the past, present and future of Jefferson street. He is the founder of the Jefferson Street Sound Museum.

For 11 years, Washington said he's been in business, but he's worried about the future.

North Nashville has been displaced by an interstate, a tornado and a pandemic.

"I feel that a lot of that money could actually go to help improve the Black businesses that's over here on Jefferson Street," Washington said.

Washington held a fundraiser and even published a book to help keep the doors open.

He is asking for donations to help him preserve the legacy of Jefferson Street.

As far as the legislation goes, Toombs said she deferred the resolution for two meetings to the first meeting in February to allow more time to discuss with Courtney Pogue and to present to the Financial Oversight Committee on Jan.13.