Residents outside downtown Nashville feel there's more important work to be done than East Bank project

City needs 4,900 miles of sidewalk
East Bank
Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 23, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's slated to be the biggest redevelopment in Nashville history, but the plan for the East Bank is making some people scratch their heads.

Residents in established neighborhoods like Bellevue and Antioch said the city should be sending resources in their direction instead.

"The design and architecture is exciting, but it does not excite me as a taxpayer," said Paul Doster Jr., of Bellevue.

The new 300-acre neighborhood on the East Bank would be built from the ground up. The city hasn't said what it will cost to pull off the draft proposal complete with restaurants, apartments and parks. It is likely it will take hundreds of millions of dollars.

City-wide issues like too few sidewalks and not enough affordable housing have some residents wondering who is getting prioritized.

"We want that tourist revenue because it benefits other areas, but I think my ask is that the infrastructure is improved in the communities that are already here," said Deonte Harrell, an Antioch resident.

Harrell said his community desperately needs more sidewalks.

"On Mt. View Road, you see people all the time whether they're going to the store, or it's even children. We have multiple schools along the way — and they're walking along the street. If it gets dark, visibility gets really bad and so you're finding yourself swerving. We need sidewalks," Harrell said.

Nashville has around 1,200 miles of sidewalks and for everything to connect, the city needs to add about 4,900 more miles, according to NDOT.

Mayor John Cooper ran on improving neighborhoods. In a tweet, mayoral candidate and District 19 council member Freddie O'Connell criticized the project for prioritizing a neighborhood that's not been built yet.

"We have people literally pleading every day for affordable housing, safe infrastructure, and better transit in the neighborhoods we already have. How on earth does this help the rest of us achieve that?" said Freddie O'Connell in a tweet.

If you want to weigh in with your opinion or find out more information about the East Bank project, some in-person and virtual events are planned. Next week on Aug. 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., you can drop by the Metro Planning Department. On Thursday, there is a virtual session with the planning department from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.