Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nashville Improvement Projects Put On Hold

WSMV-TV updated 7:13 p.m. CT, Tues., Sept. 30, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said he's committed to capital improvement projects like sprucing up the downtown riverfront and improving school buildings. But the spending plan approving a lot of those desired projects is on hold, thanks to the turbulent financial markets. "We can't ignore what's going on at national level," Dean said. "Last week, in terms of fiscal bonds being sold, it was at an incredibly low number, so this is not the time to be pushing ahead." On Tuesday, Dean was scheduled to announce his $200 million capital spending plan, but he put everything on hold. That's because the city finances improvement projects by issuing debt through municipal bonds. Those bonds are usually among the most stable on the market, with billions of dollars of municipal bonds typically sold every week, but not right now. "I'm very concerned," said Metro Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite. Wilhoite said she understands the mayor's move, but can't help but worry her number one wish just won't be in the stars. "We definitely need a community center in southeast Davidson County," she said. While the parks department agrees with Wilhoite, she hasn?t received the funding for a couple years now. Currently, there is only one community center in Antioch. "When you consider we are the fastest growing community in all of Davidson County, that's not enough," she said. Fewer projects may be approved than in the past due to the financial times. The city's finance director said too many were approved by the past administration, so this year's plan was already going to be lean. Dean doesn't know how long it will be before he proceeds with the capital spending plan, but Tuesday morning, he estimated about a week or two. Even before the turmoil on Wall Street, the plan was already delayed while the city assessed its bonding capacity.

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