Nashville's Next Mayor: Should The City Slow Down Gentrification?

Jan 26, 2015

The candidates to be Nashville’s next mayor are rather short on specific ideas to slow gentrification, though they agree its one of the city’s biggest challenges.

WPLN asked this: is it the city’s job to help low-income families stay put, even as real estate values soar around them, sending rent and property tax bills through the roof?

"The answer is yes,” says businesswoman Linda Rebrovick. She could speak for the entire field.

“I think there is – certainly – an appropriate role for the local government to ensure that the city doesn’t become just an enclave for upper-income people,” says former school board chairman David Fox. 

“We care about diversity," says attorney Charles Robert Bone. "We care about trying to keep people in their neighborhoods, recognizing that there is a balance.”

“But I think the bigger question is how do we maintain affordability for all of Nashville,” says at-large councilwoman Megan Barry.

As for what to do about it, Fox has an idea about allowing developers to build more densely if they reserve units for low-income residents. Developer Bill Freeman, whose company owns some 50,000 apartments in the Nashville area, suggests being careful about raising property taxes.

“I think what we have to do is just be mindful of the cost of living in Davidson County," he says.

Charter school founder Jeremy Kane says every neighborhood may take a slightly different approach.

“When the conversation can exist between a neighborhood and developers, good things happen at the end of the day,” Kane says, adding that the gentrification problem could be solved simply through better communication.

The Candidates, Uncut