ASH AS MAYOR

After being elected mayor in 2016 I immediately began to tackle the issue of growth rolling in from the west. New building and a growing population seemed to be overwhelming. As I said in my campaign we must be pro active, managing our growth, or it would overwhelm us. Lebanon had not had a Comprehensive Plan since 1984 so a study was begun to produce a long term plan that would cover all aspects of running an efficient city. We looked at infrastructure projects, community development, growth and we set goals so that our growth can align with our zoning codes.

We completed the Hartmann Gateway Study which is a smaller project to show how we can help guide the growth and get our zoning in line with how we want the city to grow and develop.

 

The Sparta Pike Economic Study is an opportunity to show how we can help our community thrive off of tourism by partnering with the Wilson County Expo Center to bring residents and tourism throughout the city simply by making the area more attractive and by creating more connections to downtown.

 

Growth brings traffic which must be dealt with. Building wider roads in the city is not an option. We hired a traffic engineer to help by syncing traffic lights and helping with traffic flow. The city is working to connect all traffic lights to fiber optic cable which will update our traffic control boxes.

 

We have also received a grant to create Smart Signals which will be controlled by a city employee at a central location.

 

Another example of smart growth is Carver Lane. We knew that growth was coming, and we needed a plan for road infrastructure to meet the growth. We partnered with developers to create a fund they paid into to widen the road when the time was ready, and the funds were there.

 

Community development was the next step in our planning. Parks and recreation are a major part of a growing and vibrant city. The Fox Park is a centrally located park and our first step with the help of Ward 1 Councilor Joey Carmack was to renovate the playground that has served so well for over 20 years.

 

Our next step was to move away from fewer mega parks and move toward more and smaller neighborhood parks which are easily accessible to all six wards. The first park is now open on S. Hartmann Drive and two others are in the works.

 

We have also made a significant investment in purchasing property for our recreation goals which includes moving soccer from the Lebanon airport property.

We have also hired a full time grant coordinator to help find funds for parks and trails as well as sidewalks and many more city projects.

 

Our downtown is thriving with many new and unique businesses moving in. This is partly why the Mayor and Council decided to invest in the town square parking lot. We want to be proud of our square, but we also wanted to address drainage, lighting, safety and traffic flow.

 

What have we done to bring in new business? When I was first elected, I hired Retail Strategies, a consulting firm that works directly with our Economic Director, Sarah Haston, to recruit new business to Lebanon. They have provided us with data and helped us build a team of new recruiters at a minimal cost to help us tell the story of Lebanon to retailers in numbers that we could not accomplish by ourselves. When we go to a retail convention, the city may have 20 or 30 appointments whereas Retail Strategies may have 300 appointments at the same convention.

 

They have helped bring in Planet Fitness and Bojangles and are already working on filling some of our vacant buildings.

 

Some of the other businesses that have come into Lebanon are Cook Out, Dickie’s BBQ, Jimmy Johns, Harbor Freight and T-Mobile.

 

Sarah currently has letters of intent for multiple businesses but can’t reveal who they are at this time.

 

On the industrial side, 27 new projects have moved to Lebanon and Wilson County. Some of those include: Wonder Porcelain, ABC Packaging, CEVA Logistics, Crane Freight, Dayton Freight, Genuine Parts (NAPA), Hamilton Machine, Medline Industries, Nashville Tile Distributors, O’Reillys Distribution Center, Pennant Moldings, Rooms To Go Distribution, Woodtex and XPO Logistics.

 

Other issues that we have tackled are litter and beautification. Public Works was asked to focus on litter over all the city but especially the gateways to our city.

 

We have also reorganized the beautification commission under the leadership of Patsy Anderson. The commission has done a great job landscaping the Square and the Farmers Market, and creating the Pumpkin Festival, and the Arbor Day celebration.

Notes from Bernie...
Why I do not support donating $850,000.00 to Cumberland University

Why I do not support donating $850,000.00 to Cumberland University

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of discussion, pro and con about whether the city should use tax money to support the Cumberland Corner Project.

Like everyone else in Lebanon I am greatful for the presence of the University and for the positive impact it has on the community.

I am greatful for Dr. Paul Stumb and the staff at Cumberland for all they do for Wilson Co.

Having said that. Here is the reality of what we will do tonight.

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Why did the city purchase the Mitchell House?

When Mayor Fox and the City purchased the Main Building at Castle Heights it was in a state of disrepair and we were in danger of losing part of our history and our heritage. Many of the other buildings on the campus have already disappeared and there is nothing we can do about that now.

We can do something about the Mitchell House and the City has made that possible by purchasing it and therefore being able to control the future of this historical structure for many years to come.

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Why are we having a tax increase?

 

I don’t like tax increases anymore than anyone else. In fact, I have spent most of my political career fighting what I considered unfair or just too much of an increase in taxes.  That being said, let’s talk about the current proposal to increase the city property tax rate to .8575.

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© 2019 by  Bernie Ash for Mayor