Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bogus Blight

Joy Ford is fighting a battle that's important to us all and we need to do what we can to voice our objections to city leaders.

Miss Joy has got a bit of property on the backside of Demonbreun. Here's a Google picture of it. She's probably got the only real tree in the entire area. It's a utilitarian building and the property is much neater and well maintained than her neighbors'. Within that nondescript one level brick building is a small music business that she had her husband ran for years. He's passed on now and Miss Joy is carrying on and facing the Lions(tone) alone. These out-of town-developers want it and the city is helping them get it over her vehement objections.

The city is trying to use the old 'it's blighted and needs to be redeveloped' argument. Baring health and safety issues the city shouldn't be in the business of butting their noses into the property rights of citizens--especially on behalf of a money making entity. The blighted excuse is just bogus. This area is no where near blighted and the city should be ashamed of picking on Miss Joy to line the pockets of a developer that will never have the ties to that neighborhood or this city like Miss Joy and her Country International Records.

Does any of this look 'blighted' to you? Can you even FIND Miss Joy's property in these pictures? If Lionstone lacks the vision to make money with the property they have available perhaps they're not the entity that can make the best use of the property at all.

A couple of times a week I go down that section of Demonbreun and Music Circle East. From my regular trips through this area over the years I've seen it go from a fairly thriving tourist hang out where the Shoney's did a regular business and then Barbara Mandrell's gift shop did too, to a horrible eyesore where properties weren't cared for and were an embarrassment to the Music Row neighborhood.

In the last several years though lots of revitalization has occurred. The Shoney's motel was bought, renovated and seems to be fairly busy. The Shoney's restaurant has been replaced by a parking lot that services that essential need of the many business across Demonbreun. When driving through there I'm regularly having to dodge pedestrians, delivery trucks and local radio remote trucks coming and going. At times the number of delivery trucks makes that section a one lane road such is the amount of product that passes through those businesses. There's a new condominium complex going up there and that has added to the activity in the area. A new office condominium has gone up. This area is the most thriving and successful blighted area I've ever seen in my life. Miss Joy's property did not hold back any of that development.

All this puts me in mind of a small men's clothing store in downtown Nashville called Petway-Reaves. Back before the turn of the century Big Bank wanted to put up a high rise office tower but this stubborn little business, displaying the sort of fortitude that allowed it to stay in business for decades, and decades refused to sell. As I remember, it wasn't until the bank relented and created a building plan that wrapped around the clothing store that the issue was finally settled and the property owner sold. I can't find any archives about the battle and I don't recall exactly how willing the sale was.

Lionstone property needs to move on and realize that her little bit of property isn't theirs to have. The city needs to quit being the gun at the head of Miss Joy. Citizens need to realize that if we don't stand with Miss Joy 'our property rights' won't be worth the paper the deed is printed on.

"Metro Acts to Seize Music Row Property" Tennessean, Saturday, June 21, 2008.


din819go said...

Kay -- this is a very important issue. Thanks for highlighting it --

Go Miss Joy!

Franklin Kool Aid said...

Do you know who at the city is forcing this issue?

Kay Brooks said...

I do not know who at the city is forcing this issue. I wish I knew and then we can focus our efforts better.

Here's Mayor Dean's e-mail:

Here's the Council's contact page.

Mike Shor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Shor said...


Great work!

From my understanding, forcing the issue are the Director and Commissioners of MDHA who have a 10-year-old ordinance empowering them to run roughshod in the "Arts Center Redevelopment District." Links, etc, can be found here.