Pardon me while I get hyper-local for a bit. But to the current crop of candidates running for Mayor of Nashville and Metro Council, please take note of the following:
Nashville has had yet another water main break this morning. The temperatures have been in the low- to mid-60s for the past week so this is not due to cold weather and freezing pipes.
This is the eighth water main break I’ve counted in the past six months. To recap the other seven:
• January 9, 2015: Natchez Trace/Blair Blvd.
• January 8, 2015: Two water main breaks, one on Harding Place at I-24 and one on McMurray Road in South Nashville.
• November 20, 2014: Harding Place at Jonquil Drive.
• September 25, 2014: Two in Green Hills/Oak Hill area: one on Lealand Lane and one on Harding Place.
• July 31 2014: 100 Oaks/Home Depot. This was the big one that shut off water to thousands of residents for days. The Mall at Green Hills was forced to close. Restaurants closed. It was a mess.
Having said all that, let me add: Clearly I’m waaay underestimating the water main issue because according to this story,
Metro has responded to an average of 450 water main breaks each year. Last January alone there were 168.
Obviously, most of those have been small enough so as to not be newsworthy.
Regardless, as Nashville seems hell-bent on investing tax money on stupid projects like the Gulch-SoBro Pedestrian Bridge, a new baseball stadium, and the new Music City Center which continues to underperform in the convention booking department, I’m wondering if anyone would mind reinvesting back in our existing communities and neighborhoods? Just a bit? Pretty please? I get that tourists are important and all, but honestly, that $16 million you just took out of the general fund to build a bridge to nowhere when there’s already a bridge a block away was just stupid. We need that money so we can get some dang water to our homes and businesses (and hospitals, and schools).
I find it deliciously ironic that today’s water main break has forced the headquarters of Bridgestone America to close. This is the same Bridgestone America that was just handed $52 million in tax incentives (including paying zero property taxes) by our Metro Council so they’d build a new skyscraper downtown. Bridgestone is currently headquartered out by the airport, a part of town that is presently without water. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Serves you right. Can you say, karma?
That’s a few million dollars in revenue that we just threw away that could have gone toward things like, I dunno, rebuilding our ancient water infrastructure. Bridgestone threatened to leave Nashville though — something I find highly unlikely, since they were already here. Now they’ve lost at least one day’s worth of productivity.
Nashville has always been an incredibly short-sighted town where planning is concerned. We’re the geniuses who tore down the governor’s mansion for a Popeye’s chicken franchise. We’re the ones who built a performing arts center without considering the need for parking, because I guess families coming in for a matinee of “Wicked” will just magically teleport themselves downtown.
You could take a band of monkeys from the Nashville Zoo and throw them into our planning department and I daresay they’d do as good a job as our esteemed pencil-necked “planners” who have destroyed our neighborhoods, increased traffic gridlock, stressed our city’s infrastructure, and overseen the bulldozing of historic landmarks.
But it’s always been that way. Nashville has never cared about its history. It would rather build an ersatz Antebellum hotel/theme park and charge you $10 for parking than protect the real treasures in its midst.
But God, at least pay some dang attention to infrastructure, people. How can you call yourself an “it city” when businesses are forced to close because of busted water mains? When people can’t navigate the overwhelmed roads and say screw it, I’ll shop at home?
Stuff needs to be paid for. The people who actually live here need services. It can’t always be all about the tourists, okay?