Yesterday Phil Williams at Newschannel5 ran a story on the possibility of privatizing the public parking system of Nashville. There are lots of questions to be considered about that possibility, but in reading the story on-line I was pointed to an November 19 e-mail from Rich Riebling to Mayor Dean which also contained something else of interest to me and my community of Antioch:
…do we want to move forward with health/community center project at hickory hollow?
There has been a lot of speculation in the past regarding the building of community center in the declining mall out here, but so far there has never been any public acknowledgment that it was seriously being considered. There is certainly a great need for community space in our community and given the state of the mall, I have no objection to a public infusion of cash to help transform that space into something around which the community can rally (although the lack of current green space is a worry).
What does create worry is that so far there has been no opportunity for community input on the project, and my fear is that this will be something that is announced to us rather than something that the citizens of the community can retain ownership. It also makes me wonder if community support to locating the WIC Clinic in Hickory Hollow might have been different if it had been presented in the context of a larger community based project rather than as a stand alone entity.
There are lots of questions to be asked. What type of “health clinic” is envisioned, since primary care health clinics in Nashville are independent entities run by non-profits (although I think a good argument can be made for the creation of primary care clinics that are run and directly tied to Metro General Hospital). What services would be offered in this community center, and given the Metro Parks financial woes, can we really afford to operate another space with hours that would be in sync with a large retail center like Hickory Hollow? And of course, what was the Mayor’s answer.
Inquiring minds want to know. Maybe now that the debate on the MCC is over, we might be able to get some answers.