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Nashville mayor proposes $10M grant to help neighborhoods, businesses rebound

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Posted at 2:01 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 15:01:20-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Nashville Mayor John Cooper has proposed a plan to invest $10 million in neighborhoods and businesses as the city continues to recover from the pandemic and the Christmas Day bombing.

The mayor’s office announced details of the one-time grant on Tuesday. Of that $10 million, $1.5 million would go to support recovery efforts for small and microbusiness, as well as local tourism, as the city rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have restored financial stability to Nashville and are confident about more federal relief funding coming to Nashville,” Mayor Cooper said. “Now is a smart moment to use these one-time dollars, to address pressing needs and invest local businesses as they approach the rebound.”

Half of the total grant – $5 million – would go to the city’s Barnes Fund for affordable housing.

Mayor Cooper’s proposal also includes money to support community plans for reducing gun and other violence.

Cooper said $2 million would support “neighborhood-driven safety strategies,” per the recommendations of the Policing Policy Commission (PPC). Read more here.

"Partnering with – and investing in – the groups working to make our neighborhoods safer was one of the Policing Policy Commission's most important recommendations," said Sharon Roberson, a PPC member and president and CEO of YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee. "I want to thank Mayor Cooper for making a major down payment on that recommendation."

According to a release, a council established by the mayor would “provide partners with technical assistance and highlight efforts the mayor could expand in future budget proposals.”

Another $1 million would help support mental health needs within the community. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 40% Tennesseans – many of them ages 18 to 29 – have recently reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.

The mayor’s office said a Behavioral Health Crisis Response Initiative (BHCRI), housed at Metro Public Health, will evaluate the city's “behavioral health capacity, improve Nashville's response to opioid overdoses, and provide residents with better access to behavioral health services during crises.”

The remaining $500,000 would go towards the recovery and rebuilding of Second Avenue after the Christmas Day bombing. Metro Planning would put $250,000 toward the effort – that includes making capital planning recommendations – as well as conceptual designs and other visualizations.

Metro Public Works would use another $250,000 to help restore the publicly-owned infrastructure – which includes roadways, lighting and other streetscaping.

The mayor’s plan will go before Metro Council for approval in coming weeks. Read Metro’s full release here.