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Mayor Megan Barry Launches Transit and Affordability Taskforce

November 7, 2017

Co-chaired by former Mayor Bill Purcell and Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn, Taskforce will identify policies and strategies to support small business and affordable housing growth along transit corridors

Mayor Megan Barry will convene a Transit and Affordability Taskforce, co-chaired by Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn and former Mayor Bill Purcell, that will offer policy, project, and programmatic recommendations to help Nashville’s decision-makers ensure that planned high-capacity transit corridors are safe, affordable and inclusive for everyone. The taskforce also will develop strategies to improve the economic prospects and equity of these areas and provide new opportunities for housing and commerce — all while avoiding displacement of the vital communities of residents and businesses that call these corridors home today.

“Housing and transportation are inseparable issues, as together they represent the highest cost-burdens for most working families,” said Mayor Barry. “If Nashville voters adopt Metro’s Transportation Solution in May of next year, we’ll face a tremendous opportunity to create affordable housing and commercial space along our major pikes and corridors so that Nashville’s future is more equitable. I’m grateful to all the taskforce members for their willingness to help identify and shape policies to ensure our community’s growth and prosperity is inclusive of all.” 

Guided by best practices and lessons-learned from other cities, Taskforce members will recommend policies to ensure a long-term affordability strategy that preserves and creates opportunities for all Nashvillians to live and work in close proximity to transit. The Taskforce’s work product will be consulted as a guideline by which to implement near/mid/long-term policies, projects, and programs to prevent displacement of vulnerable residents and businesses as high-capacity transit infrastructure is constructed in Davidson County.  Early engagement of local stakeholders and leaders will enable the Metropolitan Government and its partners to harness community interest in this issue, and initiate thoughtful collaboration across neighborhoods and interested groups.

“Nashville desperately needs better public transportation options if we are going to continue to grow and succeed,” said former Mayor Purcell, who led the city from 1999 to 2007. “But we also need better housing options for working families, seniors, and younger workers, and I’m looking forward to working with our community members to help identify and shape the policies that will make that happen.” 

The Taskforce will hold their introductory meeting on Wednesday, November 8 from 2-4PM at the Lentz Public Health Center. Additional meetings will be held through the end of the year with a goal of presenting a list of recommendations to the Mayor and Metro Council by early next year.  

“I understand and share many of the concerns about transit investments leading to displacement, which is why I’m honored to help lead our city towards the policies that will ensure it doesn’t happen in Nashville,” said Davidson County Clerk Wynn. “I appreciate Mayor Barry’s commitment to equity and opportunity in our city, and I believe we can and will ensure that better public transportation leads to better access and affordability for all Nashvillians.” 

The Transit and Affordability Taskforce is comprised of local affordable-housing advocates, owners of small businesses located along proposed high-capacity transit corridors, real-estate developers, and planning experts. Members include:

  • Ashley Northington, Agency Director & Chief Brand Officer of Denor Brands & Public Relations
  • Bill Phillips, Partner with Windrow Phillips Group
  • Councilmember Bob Mendes, Chair of the Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee
  • Brent Elrod, Director of Planning and Development with Urban Housing Solutions
  • Hal Cato, CEO of Thistle Farms
  • Hank Helton, Senior Vice President of Pathway Lending
  • State Representative Harold M. Love Jr. 
  • Heather Powell, CEO of the Tennessee Kidney Foundation
  • Dr. James Fraser, Vanderbilt Professor and Independent Housing Consultant
  • Lilian Yepez, Co-owner of La Hacienda
  • Mark Deutschmann with Village Real Estate Services and the Urban Land Institute
  • Marshall Crawford, President and CEO of The Housing Fund
  • Michael King, Owner of Monell’s Dining and Catering
  • Nawzad Hawrami, Director of the Salahadeen Center
  • Patrick Green, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1235 and member of the PATHE Coalition
  • Paulette Coleman, Chair of the Affordable Housing Task Force of Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH)
  • Pearl Sims, member of the Edgehill Coalition and the Metro Planning Commission 
  • Pete Wooten, Financial Advisor with Pinnacle Financial Partners 
  • Phil Ryan, Vice President of Cherry & Associates