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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for June 28, 2023


All news stories are aggregated from various sources and modified for time and content. Original sources are cited.


We start with local news…

Commission Approves Tax Break (CDH)

Municipalities of the City of Spring Hill and Maury County showed support for an expansive mixed use development in Spring Hill that will house a U.S. Tennis Association complex by approving a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF plan.

The TIF, approved by the Maury County Commission last week, will provide Spring Hill Crossings development a tax break of approximately 40% (or a savings of almost $54.7 million) in county services over 20 years for the northern Maury County development that could take a decade to construct.

The tax break does not include debt service or school taxes and will be paid back to the county at least after 20 years.

The TIF plan met a quick 18-1 approval at the Maury County Commission’s regular June meeting with no discussion on the matter.

There was also no dissent voiced at a public hearing to begin sewer work prior to the commission meeting on the mega project that will open the door for tennis competitions, drawing competitors across the nation.

Developers project an excess of $60 million in local tax revenue, with nearly $25 million for the county and nearly $20 million to Spring Hill.

According to the plan for Spring Hill Crossings development which boasts a total $140.3 million investment (affiliated with Spring Hill Development Holdings, LLC and other affiliates of Southstar, LLC), 213 acres will be developed in northern Maury County inside the city limits of Spring Hill.

The plans include 670,000 square feet of building space for commercial offices, retail, restaurants and hotels with the tennis facility project to serve as the main “anchor.”

Ultimately, the plan predicts long-term job creation with large revenue returns expected over the next 20 years and beyond.

Developers requested the TIF economic plan to help pay for the massive development, though those cost savings can just be used for infrastructure, according to Tennessee Code Chapter 9. Any other use of the funds would require a written determination by the Tennessee Comptroller.

“This will be a huge benefit to the northern part of the county for athletics and tourism,” Maury County Commission Chairman Eric Previti said. “I’ve also had people asking about pickleball courts, of which there will be plenty.”

A recent 5-1 approval from Maury County Regional Planning Commission as well as meetings from various Maury County board committees have all pressed on with the large-scale project that promises to bring many future visitors to the area.

Those visitors, it is hoped will largely come to spend money, stay in hotels, shop and eat at local restaurants.

The county could see as many as 8,000 people a week with the likely addition of hotels to accommodate the visitors, Previti said.

The area in waiting includes a stretch of land located between The Crossings at Spring Hill and Spring Hill Battlefield, which Previti said would remain protected and untouched under its conservancy.

Bottom line for Maury County, Maury County Finance Director Doug Lukonen said, is that the massive project brings much hope for increased revenue.

“We will see increased revenue for school and debt related property tax, building permits and adequate facilities taxes,” he said. “But the major payoff will be when the TIF expires in 20 years.”

The economic impact plan, which passed by County Commission Tuesday, helped advance initial sewer work following the required public hearing.

Indoor and outdoor tennis courts and other recreational amenities will be affixed to the tennis facility that will come with its own devoted parking area. The influx of traffic the facility would bring to the area was the only main concern that caused pause for the county board during discussions in recent days.

Developers also addressed concerns for any school population increase, which was explained by developers as minimal, with plans to address traffic concerns.

Some interstate widening is also expected in addition to other road improvements.

TIFs are widely used as a tool for municipalities in the state under Tennessee Code 7-53-312 and can help to bring an economic boon to areas that would not otherwise have the financial capability in absence of such a TIF that is pulled from local property taxes.

Some criticisms of the financing method are found with even City of Spring Hill’s website linking a myth versus fact breakdown of the funding tool, but Previti said he held no such concerns for Maury County.

Neither does Lukonen who weighed in with his thoughts on the funding plan and how the development would benefit the county.

“I do not have a concern with the TIF from a Maury County standpoint,” Lukonen said. “If this all works out it will be incredibly beneficial to our entire community – no additional strain on taxpayers is foreseen. Nothing will be added to our debt.

“Our revenues [will] go way up, not to mention the sales tax increases from added commerce.”


Columbia Fireworks Rules (MauryCountySource)

The City of Columbia wants to remind citizens that fireworks are only allowed to be used within the city limits on July 3rd, 4th, and 5th from 10am to 10pm.

Also, it is unlawful for any person to possess, sell or use:

Mortars (single or multiple tubes) larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter or

Bottle rockets of any kind

For more information, visit www.columbiatn.com.


Maury Regional Recognized for Cardiac Care (Press Release)

Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) has received the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® - Resuscitation Gold quality achievement award for its commitment to treating in-hospital cardiac arrest, ultimately helping to improve survival rates.

 Each year, more than 300,000 adults and children experience an in-hospital cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. Survival from cardiac arrest largely depends on timely medical emergency team response and effective CPR.

 The Get With The Guidelines - Resuscitation program was developed to help save lives of patients who experience in-hospital cardiac arrests by consistently following the most up-to-date research-based guidelines for treatment as outlined by the American Heart Association. Guidelines include following protocols for patient safety, medical emergency team response, effective and timely resuscitation (CPR) and post-resuscitation care. Get With The Guidelines puts the expertise of the American Heart Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest evidence- and research-based guidelines.

 Hospitals receiving Get With The Guidelines® Gold Achievement Award have reached an aggressive goal of treating patients to core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association® for two consecutive calendar years.

 “Maury Regional Medical Center is committed to providing our patients rapid, state-of-the-art heart care, including adhering to the latest resuscitation guidelines,” said Maury Regional Health CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “Get With The Guidelines makes it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis, which studies show can help more patients who have cardiac arrest survive.”

 MRMC’s emergency responders are equipped to begin treatment immediately and relay vital information to the hospital while in route to the Emergency Department. Physicians and staff are then waiting for the patient and can begin treatment immediately in the cardiac catheterization lab.

 The communication and rapid response have led to MRMC’s current average door-to-balloon time — the time between a patient’s arrival at the hospital to when a blocked artery is opened — being 170% faster than the standard time recommended by American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines (90 minutes).

 MRMC’s newly renovated, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab features a team of expert cardiologists who work in tandem with a highly skilled and experienced team and cutting-edge technology to investigate heart conditions and perform an array of interventional procedures.

 Learn more about the heart services offered at MRMC at MauryRegional.com/Heart.


Groth Completes Training (CDH)

Travis Groth, VP of Economic Development at the Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance, recently completed the two-week Advanced Economic Development Leadership executive education program and was awarded the Master Economic Development Practitioner certificate. He has been in economic development for almost 10 years.

AEDL is a collaboration of universities — The University of Southern Mississippi, Texas Christian University, and the University of New Mexico — are committed to excellence in economic development and advancing the knowledge, skills, and application of key job creation strategies in America’s cities, communities, and counties.

“While Maury County has been blessed to experience significant economic development, it is important to stay on the cutting edge of industry best practice and learn from colleagues and experts nationally. Especially, as our community and our organization continues to sharpen their focus on smart and sustainable growth for the future," Groth said.

"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Maury Alliance for supporting me through completion of this certification program.”

The experiential curriculum enhances key skills necessary for leading successful community and economic development strategies. Led by experienced world-class faculty, program topics include negotiation; personal and professional leadership; successful teamwork; site selection and economic development; incentives; innovative data for retention, expansion, and attraction; entrepreneurship; talent; and more. 

The Advanced Economic Development Leadership course accepts mid and senior-level practitioners across the U.S.


Music Marker Unveiled (MauryCountySource)

The City of Columbia, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, unveiled a Tennessee Music Pathways Marker for blues singer Lillie Mae Glover on Tuesday, June 20 at 814 Woodlawn St. in Columbia.

City and county officials gathered for the dedication along with Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s Ashley DeRossett.

Launched by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in 2018, Tennessee Music Pathways is an online planning guide that connects visitors to the state’s rich musical heritage. From the largest cities to the smallest communities, Tennessee Music Pathways stretches across all 95 counties and features hundreds of landmarks from the seven genres of music that call Tennessee home.

DeRossett said the initiative of Tennessee Music Pathways is to honor those across the state that have made an impact to the musical heritage in Tennessee.

“It’s impactful for us to recognize and honor those across the state that had a musical impact on our heritage,” DeRossett said.

“We know there are artists who have already paved the way previously. The impact Lillie Mae would have had on Columbia and really across the state is important to our heritage and who we are,” she said.

Glover, known professionally as Big Memphis Ma Rainey or Baby Ma Rainey, was born in Columbia on Sept. 7, 1906.

The daughter of a preacher, Glover grew up in Nashville singing with her family after moving at 14 to join a travelling medicine show. Glover is claimed to have opened for Ma Rainey, known as the “Mother of the Blues” and one of the first recorded blues singers, at the Frolic Theatre in Birmingham in 1925.

In 1928, Glover settled in Memphis, where she played in local clubs. In 1953, she recorded two songs for Sun Records, “Call Me Anything (But Call Me)” and “Baby, No, No!”

Glover preceded Elvis Presley’s debut by 14 months. In the mid-1970s, she was booked on the Memphis Blues Caravan and made regular appearances at Blues Alley on Memphis’ Front Street. She died in 1985 at the age of 76.

Anthony Greene, Columbia City Councilman from the third ward, spoke on the significance of the marker.

“Hopefully this inspires those who are here to let them know that no matter where you start off in life, it doesn’t limit where it can take you,” he said.


Chartwell Residential (Press Release)

Earlier this week, Chartwell Residential announced the completion of the first phase of Chartwell Commons at Beechcroft. 

The 124-rental development in Spring Hill is Chartwell's first built-to-rent community. 

“Chartwell Residential is continuously seeking opportunities to fulfill the real estate needs of Middle Tennessee," Chartwell Residential partner Will Schaedle said in a news release.

"This built-to-rent model is a direct reflection of people’s desire to live in upscale neighborhoods without the commitment of a long-term investment. We are confident that the Chartwell Commons residents will be pleased with the new community. This will be the first of many built-to-rent communities to come.”

Phase one of the community includes 52 homes, and the entire development is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. The community offers nine floorplans to choose from, including the option of high-end kitchens and fenced yards. The community also includes a clubhouse, resort-style pool, grilling area, and playground.

Franklin Construction Group (FCG), Chartwell’s in-house construction firm, is the general contractor for Chartwell Commons at Beechcroft. FCG currently has more than $300 million in active construction apartment and residential projects throughout Middle Tennessee, including Chartwell at Marathon, a multi-family development project in Nashville that is 50 percent complete and will begin preleasing in Fall 2023. 



Food Trucks and Fireworks (MauryCountySource)

There will be something fun for everyone at Food Trucks & Fireworks in Spring Hill, TN! This year, the Food Trucks and Fireworks event is happening on Sunday, July 2, 2023—festivities start at 6pm and last until the fireworks show at sundown. Get ready for a family-friendly community gathering filled with mouthwatering food, endless fun, and a mind-blowing fireworks display by the Downtown Nashville Fireworks Show, Pyro Inc. Oh, and the best part? The admission is free!

Mark the date in your calendar, share it with your friends, and plan on attending Food Trucks & Fireworks at 305 Parkfield Loop S, Spring Hill, for a celebration you won’t forget. When the sun starts to dip, prepare to be dazzled by an awe-inspiring fireworks show that’ll leave everyone in awe, no matter their age.

What about the “Food” part of Food Trucks and Fireworks? There will be 30 or more local food trucks. Whether you’re into savory or sweet, there will be something for everyone.

Kids will enjoy bounce houses, and the young-at-heart can engage in some friendly competition with classic summer games like cornhole and frisbee. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Throughout the event, there will be games and giveaways to keep the festive vibes going strong.

To make sure everyone can join in the fun, there are three parking options. The on-site Red Lot that is available for a small fee, the free Blue Lot with a complimentary shuttle service, and the Yellow Lot, free on-site handicap parking making sure that everyone can easily access the event.

For all event details, including the full lineup of food trucks and entertainment, head over to www.FoodTrucksAndFireworks.com.


And now, Your Hometown Memorials, Sponsored by Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home…  

Garland Dean Hill, 75, retired employee of Bridgestone Tire Company for over twenty-five years, died Monday, June 26, 2023 at Williamson Medical Center. 

 A graveside service will be conducted Thursday at 2:30 P.M. at Johnson Chapel Cemetery with Randy Kersey officiating. Military honors will be provided by Herbert Griffin American Legion Post 19. The family will visit with friends Thursday from 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.


…And now, news from around the state…

Nascar Back at Fairgrounds? (Tennessean)

Darrell Waltrip knows a lot about momentum and how fast you can go.

Following the past weekend’s successful NASCAR Cup Series in the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway, the hall of fame driver is confident it will play a big role in getting the deal done to bring NASCAR back to the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

The Metro Council is set to vote on the $1 million renovation deal to the historic track, which hosted two NASCAR Cup Series races each year during Waltrip's career, on July 6, just 11 days after the third annual Ally 400 on Sunday (6 p.m. CT, NBC).

Bristol Motor Speedway owns Nashville Superspeedway and put together the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway deal.

"The first race I came here to the Nashville Superspeedway and didn't know what to expect and it had a sellout crowd and last year was even better," Waltrip, a Franklin resident, told The Tennessean on Monday. "I can only imagine this year will be even better. Having something positive like that fresh on people's minds, I believe, will help."

Under the proposal, Bristol Motor Speedway would lease the fairgrounds track for 30 years and construct of a new 30,000-seat grandstand along with a sound wall, and enhance the infield.

The grandstand would be similar to Nashville Superspeedway, which seats 38,000, but there aren't many other similarities between the two venues. The differences, Waltrip believes, improves the likelihood that two NASCAR Car Cup Series races located so closely together (about 35 miles apart) could survive.

Nashville Superspeedway is a 1.33-mile D-shaped oval while Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is an 0.596 oval.

"There is no comparison between the two tracks," Waltrip said. "This is concrete, the fairgrounds is asphalt so that's a huge difference for the drivers. The distances also make it two totally different racetracks. They're also two totally different setups, two totally different cars. That in itself makes it interesting."

Waltrip, who spent 19 years as an analyst after his racing career before retiring in 2019, said the NASCAR Cup Series needs a track like the Fairgrounds Speedway because of its differences as a short track with all tracks on the circuit and not just Nashville Superspeedway.

After a 27-year wait, NASCAR returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway, a short track (0.625-miles), in May with the All-Star Race.

"The short tracks are where the action is," Waltrip said. 

Waltrip wants today's drivers to the same experiences he had in his early years at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

"It's one of my favorite racetracks; it's where I started my racing career," he said. "They always told me if you can win at the fairgrounds you can win anywhere and they right."


MTSU Raises Tuition (MainStreetMaury)

The Middle Tennessee State University Board of Trustees approved raising tuition and fees by 2.98 percent starting this fall at its regularly scheduled meeting on June 20.

It is the first such increase at MTSU in two years.

The increase was necessary to meet rising utility costs, enhanced scholarship levels and other improvements, including renovations to Murphy Center areas used for athletic, academic and community events.

MTSU’s current tuition and fees are the lowest among the state’s three largest institutions (University of Tennessee at Knoxville and University of Memphis) and seventh lowest among Tennessee’s 10 public four-year schools.

The increase, within the range recommended by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, equates to an additional $286 for an in-state undergraduate student taking 15 credit hours per semester. The previous increase was in 2021-22, when the board increased tuition and fees by 1.78%.

The Board also

• Endorsed the creation of a Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity Management. The program will prepare individuals to assess the security needs of computer and network systems, recommend safeguard solutions, and manage the implementation and maintenance of security devices, systems, and procedures.

• Approved MTSU’s 2024-25 capital outlay request, which includes a new academic building project to provide academic classrooms, class labs, faculty and staff offices, and support space for selected College of Liberal Arts departments and the associated Center for Innovation and Leadership, History Museum, and MTSU archives and exhibit spaces.

• Approved MTSU’s capital disclosures list, which includes a public-private partnership for new student housing; an addition to the Student-Athlete Enhancement Center; electric vehicle charging stations; a new parking structure, and renovations to the Student Recreation Center.

• Approved the state’s funding of a cost-of-living adjustment of 3.2 percent. Employees earning $39,062 or less will receive a $1,250 increase rather than a percentage adjustment.

• Approved the appointment of Faculty Trustee Mary Martin, a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. This is her second appointment as faculty trustee, replacing fashion merchandising professor Rick Cottle.

• Approved the appointment of Student Trustee Molly Mihm, who recently completed her undergraduate degree and is pursuing her graduate degree in Public Health. She replaces graduate business student Andrew Carpenter.

For agenda details and meeting materials for the MTSU Board of Trustees, visit www.mtsu.edu/boardoftrustees/.

Middle Tennessee State University’s residence halls for Fall 2023 are at capacity for the first time in recent memory, thanks to a combination of rising enrollment of new freshmen and transfer students and changes in the off-campus housing market, the university announced in a news release.

MTSU does not require any students to live on campus. The university, which has a total enrollment of just over 20,000, has about 3,000 spaces in its 15 residence halls and two on-campus apartment complexes. Most in-person students live in off-campus apartments or homes and commute to campus for classes.

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Sarah Sudak said the university has invited local apartment complexes to participate in CUSTOMS, the series of orientation sessions held over the summer for new freshmen and transfers, to showcase off-campus housing options.

The MTSU Board of Trustees approved at its June meeting an $84 million cost to have a public-private partnership to demolish the Womack Lane housing project and build new dormitories there.


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Legendary rock jam band Phish celebrates their 40th anniversary with an eight-date fall mini-tour starting in Nashville from Oct. 6-8, 2023, at Bridgestone Arena.

Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning July 15 at 9 a.m. CT. Nashville travel packages go on sale on July 12 at 10 a.m. CT. Phish has played Nashville numerous times in recent memory. 2020 and 2021 dates occurred at Ascend Amphitheater.

In a 2019 Tennessean feature before the band played Bonnaroo Festival, they were described as "second only to the Grateful Dead in terms of success and influence."

Describing their fanbase as a "cool, traveling circus of diehard fans" of their improvisational blues, folk, jazz, reggae and more, their local influence on Bonnaroo's festival organizers is one of their most significant ties to Music City and surrounding regions.

Read more about Phish at www.phish.com.


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