Aug 23, 2022 - News

Mayor Cooper lays out East Bank vision

A rendering of the vision for the east bank
Rendering: courtesy of the Metro Planning Department

Mayor John Cooper unveiled the vision for a new neighborhood on the East Bank of the Cumberland River, complete with greenways, bike lanes, affordable housing and commercial development.

Why it matters: City officials pitch the plan as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a neighborhood from the ground up. Their plan would bridge together existing multi-billion-dollar projects in the pipeline to revitalize the East Bank.

  • The city has already approved a redevelopment plan for the River North property, which will be the corporate home to the tech giant Oracle.
  • To the south, the Titans are pushing for a new domed stadium.

The big picture: The area studied by Cooper, the Planning Department and other city agencies largely encompasses the 300-plus acres between those two developments.

A rendering of the vision for the waterfront on the East Bank.
Rendering: courtesy of the Metro Planning Department

What they're saying: "This is the largest-ever community-driven planning process ever for Nashville, and the result will be something that protects us from haphazard, piecemeal development and sets the stage for an East Bank that provides transportation solutions, affordable housing, parks, civic space and all the features of great neighborhoods," Cooper said.

Details: The centerpiece of Cooper's vision is a new boulevard running north and south along the river.

  • Approximately 16 miles of new bike lanes, a new mass transit hub, 2.8 miles of new greenways and a cultural campus for the arts and education would also be included.

Yes, and: Affordable housing will also be a part of the plan, although details are sparse.

  • The next step will be to link up with the city's Affordable Housing Task Force to develop more specific goals and strategies.

Zoom out: The possibility of a new Titans stadium hangs over the discussions of a new vision for the East Bank.

  • Planning executive director Lucy Kempf and her team are working with two possibilities for how to lay out the East Bank — one with a new stadium and one with a renovated Nissan Stadium.
A rendering of public space included in the East Bank vision.
Rendering: courtesy of the Metro Planning Department

It remains uncertain exactly how much the new neighborhood will cost and how to pay for it. Cooper's administration is hopeful that state and federal dollars, including funding from President Biden's infrastructure law, will help foot the bill.

Metro Councilmember Bob Mendes reiterated his belief that the redevelopment of the East Bank is being driven by the new stadium talks.

  • The capital improvement budget, which functions as a spending wish list, includes $769 million worth of East Bank projects, according to a breakdown by the Nashville Business Journal.
  • "If we take a football stadium out of the mix, there is, I would argue, a 0% chance that citizens of Davidson County are signing up for $700 million worth of [bonds] for infrastructure for a couple hundred acres that are undeveloped when water fountains don't work in schools, and there's flooding concerns in neighborhoods all over the city, and all the other things that are underfunded chronically," Mendes says.

The other side: The Cooper administration insists the East Bank vision is not steered by the possibility of a new Titans stadium.

Get involved: City officials want public input before they finalize the plan. Information on public meetings and feedback submission is available online.

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