Home Local News Mayor Freddie O’Connell details priorities in first State of Metro address

Mayor Freddie O’Connell details priorities in first State of Metro address

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Mayor Freddie O’Connell delivers the 2024 State of Metro address.

More than 500 Nashvillians joined Mayor Freddie O’Connell at the Nashville Fairgrounds for his first State of Metro speech in which O’Connell detailed a path toward a more connected, affordable city with a local government that feels like a partner to residents.

“We have a great opportunity to restore your faith in local government as a resource, a partner, a listener, and a responder,” Mayor O’Connell said. “We have a great opportunity to reach for the future instead of only lamenting the past. We have a great opportunity to preserve so much of what we love about Nashville and make it better.”

The speech marks the first in Metro history to be simulcast in both Spanish and Arabic as well as English.

Delivery of the speech at the fairgrounds is a symbol of what Mayor O’Connell says the city has gotten right and what it’s fallen behind. Evoking images of the old Fair Park, flea market, and Geodis, Mayor O’Connell said, “People want to be at this site. And that’s why it’s so important that we’ve improved transit access, added sidewalks, and made it ever so slightly easier to ride your bike to a game. But it’s taken us years just to make incremental improvements, and we’d like to move faster. We’re going to need your help.”

The mayor highlighted the four most significant projects his team has undertaken in the last eight months. He described the clear need and willingness of Nashvillians to embrace a transportation improvement program. He described the goals achieved through his first Capital Spending Plan and operating budget, and the unanimous approval of a master developer agreement along the East Bank. 

That effort is led by Chief Development Officer Bob Mendes who “tweaked the dials to make sure that things like churches and childcare, local businesses and jobs, sidewalks and transit [are present along the East Bank]. These things connect people no matter what they earn. We spent a lot of time negotiating for a cluster of new neighborhoods that will offer homes for people of all walks of life, and we want more of our neighborhoods to feel this way.”

Returning to a phrase he spoke many times during his campaign, Mayor O’Connell reminded Nashvillians that he wants them to stay; he wants to make it easier for them to stay with a focus on affordability and quality of life. 

As he concluded, Mayor O’Connell reminded Nashvillians of just a few of the great resources available to them that might help them live more affordably and comfortably. 

  • Last year, the income threshold rose for folks hoping to take advantage of a property tax-free and relief program. 
  • The Financial Empowerment Center is a free financial counseling service with resources available to any Nashvillian. “If you’re experiencing any financial stress whatsoever, make an appointment today,” O’Connell said. 
  • O’Connell encouraged Nashvillians to check on their TennCare re-enrollment status in this crucial year. 
  • Nashville Electric Service participates in TVA’s Home Uplift Program which can result in free upgrades on your home that save you money on your electrical bills. 
  • Lastly, the mayor reminded Nashvillians facing eviction that the Legal Aid Society is here to help them.
  • O’Connell concluded saying, “I hope you walk away with something that made your life easier or will help someone you know.

“I think all of this is evident here at the Fairgrounds. Things many of us grew experiencing still happen here, even though the place continues to change. And new experiences are possible here, too.

“People still want to be here. And we want to make it easier to get here. Just like all the other places people want to be or need to be in this city.

“Thanks for taking a stroll down memory lane with me today. Let’s give ourselves some more choices about how we move into our future together.”

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