An ongoing battle to beautify parts of east Nashville is getting ugly again. Dozens of business and home owners along a seven-mile stretch of Gallatin Road are sounding off on a plan to make the area more pedestrian friendly.
Opponents say all the plan would do is put customers at risk and hurt small businesses, and at least one Metro councilman agrees.
Chad Baker, who turned a closed adult bookstore into a dog daycare two years ago, said city planners are still barking up the wrong tree when it comes to revitalization.
"They tried this for the last seven years. They had this [strategic plan] in place, and that was going to solve all the problems, and it failed miserably," Baker said.
The Gallatin Road urban design overlay is similar to the plan the city pitched back in 2006.
The plan would move businesses along Gallatin Road closer to sidewalks and allow parking in the alleys behind store fronts along a seven-mile stretch from Main Street to Briley Parkway.
"Making people park in the back of the buildings is not safe. I've got two friends personally that were robbed at gunpoint going into restaurants not far from here," Baker said. "I wouldn't want to be back here at night, and I wouldn't want to ask anyone else to do that."
Baker, who is now gearing up to open a dog food store across the street from his business, admits the area could use some sprucing up but says this isn't the way to do it.
"It's not about planning. It's about codes. They need to come in and enforce the rules that are on the books," he said.
And Metro Councilman Scott Davis agrees.
"We just need to slow down," Davis said. "There's not going to be any room, and the alleyway is atrocious. And you have residents right behind there who don't want people parking there. Light shines in their windows."
That's not to mention the cost for clearing paths and lighting alleyways.
"The city, itself, we need to come up with a plan to invest more and not put the burden on our big and small business owners," Davis said.
Under the proposal, businesses already located along Gallatin wouldn't be affected unless they made some sort of renovations. But anyone looking to open a new business on an open lot would.
"It just makes no sense," Baker said.
A community meeting on the plan was set for 6 p.m. at the East Police Precinct on Trinity Lane.
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