Letter to the Editor: Jan Tache
August 5, 2021
I want to thank Ms. Debbie Landers for her kind response to my previous letter to the editor. I will follow through on her suggestions to attend some of the various local meetings. Being retired, I have the time. I appreciate the amount of dedication, effort and care that she gives to her work as coordinator of all the counties in her representation of the Nashville Big Back Yard consortium, as well as her representation of our local community in the Chamber of Commerce. I am completely in favor of encouraging local businesses and prosperity, and I would love to learn of the impressive results she mentions.
I would like to know where the Nashville Big Back Yard and South Central Tennessee Tourism Association planning meetings are held. Are the meetings open to the public? Would it be possible for a journalist to attend the meetings and publish regular updates to keep the affected communities informed?
I ask these things because of my own interest, my neighbors’ interest, and because some folks who took the trouble to call me after my previous letter was published had real curiosity about specifics and wanted community input before any plans are enacted. Other people I have talked with are not really wishing to be in “Nashville’s Big Back Yard” so to speak, preferring that our area remain somewhat off the beaten path. No one seems to know what plans are actually being made.
There are other plans and projects afoot. Something that I recently learned about is the designation of Opportunity Zones all over the United States. These are zones in so-called “low income areas” created by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to attract big money investors looking to reduce or eliminate capital gains taxes. Opportunity zones around here have been created in Centerville, Lawrenceburg, Ethridge, Waynesboro, and numerous areas in Davidson County. I wonder how the zones themselves will affect property values and how investment in these zones will affect the lives of the people who live there.
And another thing I learned recently is that the federal government has declared the entire State of Tennessee a “national heritage area,” and that there is interest in making middle Tennessee “a national and international place of interest,” to quote the article I read.
So my questions are: how are our local representatives planning to navigate all these programs converging in our area? And what will be the effects on our private property rights and our quality of life?
These several issues really concern me, and I would guess might concern other property owners here, whether new (like me and my family) or life long members of the community. I count myself very fortunate to live here, and I treasure the politics and sensibilities of Lewis County and the welcome that we have experienced since moving here. I lived for years in a community that was struggling to deal with plans that had been made behind closed doors, and not vetted by the people who lived there. As the plans rolled out, there were large and unforeseen consequences for property owners and citizens. In the spirit of avoiding that mistake, I am asking for transparency, publicity and open dialogue about proposed plans and agendas that would impact our area.
And I am hopeful that now and then a public town meeting can be scheduled so that everyone interested can be informed about all the changes being considered before their adoption, and that we, the community, will be able to give input.