Bordeaux and North Nashville residents have chosen eight-city projects they want to fund as part of Mayor John Cooper’s participatory budgeting initiative—a first for Nashville.
Now, a volunteer-led participatory budgeting steering committee will work with Mayor John Cooper and Metro Council to move the following investments forward:
- A new pavilion (with a pathway, fencing, and picnic tables) plus an upgraded playground with new equipment and rubber surfacing at Bordeaux Gardens Park, 1490 Snell Boulevard
- An air conditioning system for the gym at the Looby Community Center, 2301 Rosa Parks Boulevard
- Six sets of speed bumps on Hinkle Drive in the Bordeaux Hills neighborhood, to keep speeds there between 15 and 20 miles per hour
- Better outdoor restroom facilities at Hartman Park, 2801 Tucker Road
- A better playground at Hartman Park, with new equipment, rubber surfacing, and ramps for better accessibility
- Landscape improvements at Hartman Park
- New signage to designate the Buchanan Arts District
- Additional bus shelters
“Making Nashville a city that works for everyone starts with our neighborhoods,” Mayor Cooper said. “Nashville’s participatory budgeting initiative is one step we can take to invest in Bordeaux and North Nashville, and it’s made even more meaningful by the neighbors who brought their ideas, their voices, and their inspiration to this community-driven process.”
Ruby Baker is one of those neighbors. She’s the president of the Bordeaux Hills residential association and advocated for new speed bumps on Hinkle Drive.
“This participatory budgeting process created the perfect opportunity for community engagement,” Baker said. “It caused neighbors to come together and prioritize their concerns and then put forth a concerted effort during the process that resulted in a resolution to a major concern coming to fruition.
“Participatory budgeting is an awesome tool for community advocates to use for effective community engagement. It was a very effective tool that brought a resolution to a major concern for our Bordeaux Hills neighborhood.”
The mayor introduced participatory budgeting (used in cities across the U.S. and the world) to Nashville for the first time with a $2 million investment in his FY2021 capital spending plan. He renewed that commitment in his FY2022 capital budget and is already looking for a new group of resident volunteers to lead the 2022 process.
Both plans (which Metro Council approved) invest a total of $4 million to date for city projects in neighborhoods within districts 1,2,3,19 and 21. In 2020, a Metro Council special committee report highlighted historic underinvestment in infrastructure in North Nashville.
“I’m excited about the projects selected for funding in the first round of participatory budgeting for Bordeaux and North Nashville,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Gamble, who represents District 3.
“The park center and bus shelter improvements are a great first step toward improving quality of life in the community. I appreciate the Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee and volunteers for their great work in the process.”
Participatory budgeting dollars come from the city’s capital budget. So, by law, they must be spent on infrastructure. But the initiative is one in a larger set of Bordeaux and North Nashville neighborhood investments, including:
- A new Fire Station Number 2
- Opening access to 53 acres of park space in Trinity Hills
- Maintenance and upgrades at 12 schools, including a new track at Hunters Lane High School (1150 Hunters Lane)
- New bus stops and shelters and road paving projects
- Stormwater mitigation projects
Bordeaux and North Nashville residents 14 years and older were eligible to vote. They cast ballots online, by mail, and in-person for their top choices on a list of 24 potential projects. Those ideas (which all came from Bordeaux and North Nashville residents) were on showcase at a December 12 voting expo at the Bordeaux branch of Nashville Public Library.
After 11 days, residents cast nearly 500 votes, and the Participatory Budgeting steering committee reviewed and adopted the final results on January 10.
In 2021, 17 Bordeaux and North Nashville residents worked with their neighbors for roughly three months, turning their ideas for how to spend $2 million on community projects into full proposals.
Mayor Cooper recognized these volunteer budget delegates, including: Erica Anderson, Kendall Ashby, Keith Benion, Deirdra Cox, Ericka Dixie, Annecia Donigan, Alycia Ehimen, Winnie Forrester, Jamie Hancock, Dawn Majors, Quinta Martin, Johari Matthews, Marlin Parker, Elaine Reese, Kaitlin Reynolds, Beverly Scott, and Cathy Weaver.
The mayor also recognized 18 residents who oversaw the 2021 participatory budgeting cycle as a steering committee, including Judge Rachel Bell; Alandis Brassel; Eric D. Capehart, Sr.; Lerlie Cleveland; Rev. Sonnye Dixon; Delores Donigan; George Ewing; Shonnita Frey; Luvenia Harrison; De’Sean Keys; Stephanie Nesbitt; Lagra Newman; Dr. Janet Parham; Shereka Roby-Grant; Charles Scott; Seth Thorpe; Cecilia Olusola Tribble; and Dr. Ronald A. Wooding.