Our community has enjoyed incredible growth over the last 30 years, and I understand why people move here. If I wasn’t born here I would have moved here.
The wisdom and forethought of the residents in the planning and development of the area is one reason our town is attractive not only to those wishing to move here but to long-time residents as well. It is time to put that wisdom and forethought to use again in deciding the fate of the large, vacant lot where MTMC once stood.
I live in the neighborhood of the old hospital site so I have a dog in this hunt, but I have always subscribed to the notion that community development should benefit the most people in the most cost-effective way, and I believe I have come up with a way to accomplish this as it concerns the old hospital property. Here is my vision.
The entire property should be acquired by the city/county/state/nonprofit or some combination thereof. (I will explain how later on.) The present Bell Street Surgicenter could become a new city/county library befitting a city/county of our size. The same facility is large enough to provide a permanent home for the state archives currently housed at MTSU, thus giving the state an incentive to get involved in the transaction. A museum and other nonprofit archive uses are other attractive options. Parking is already in place with a three-story garage across the street and parking lots all around the area. The new facilities would be in easy walking distance of Central Magnet School, Campus School, Bradley Academy, Holloway, Hobgood Elementary, MTSU and the public square among other places. The rest of the area could be used for a green space and park for people to enjoy. A nice bandshell could be constructed at the opposite end of the property for musical events for use by schools, independent artists, the city (JazzFest, Friday nights), theater groups, etc.
The potential for growth in tourism is obvious and it is a fact that tourism is one of the best ways to generate revenue for the city and county coffers. The opportunities for the community with this acquisition are great. So how do we get it?
The land that the new Middle Tennessee Medical Center is built on was purchased from the city of Murfreesboro, and the city still owns land all around the new hospital. Since MTMC still owns the old hospital property and the Bell Street Surgicenter property, it seems reasonable that the city could do some bartering or trading, exchanging property for property in a situation where everyone involved would win: MTMC would acquire property for the future; the city would acquire property and much needed infrastructure and could get out of the land business; and the taxpayer would gain an incredible asset to the community at minimal cost.
Additional sources to help achieve this goal could be investigated such as the county, state, federal grants and nonprofit organizations such as the Christy-Houston Foundation, among others.
If the citizens of this community see the validity of this idea and persuade their representatives to give serious consideration to this proposal, we can seize an incredible opportunity for our city and county that will not come around again.
221 N. Highland