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Nashville to join downtown effort

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Megan Smith strolls down West Washington Street on Friday after shopping at The Painted Teacher Boutique in downtown Nashville.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Monday, March 11, 2019

NASHVILLE — Nashville has been selected to participate in the Downtown Strong initiative.

The town late last month sent in paperwork seeking to become part of the new state program led by Gov. Roy Cooper to provide technical assistance to communities preserving and revitalizing their traditional downtown commercial districts.

“So we’re pretty excited about this," interim Town Manager Leonard Barefoot said.

Barefoot said a memorandum of understanding is going to be coming and said when he and staff get the document finalized, the town council is going to be told what the state is specifically going to do.

“And we’ll get started,” he said. 

Downtown Strong was launched in January and is going to be a $260,000 investment by the state Commerce Department to help boost downtown revitalization efforts in progress or to help start new ones where needed.

One of the goals of the Downtown Strong initiative is to develop a “toolkit” to be used to assist communities in the revitalization process.

At a Feb. 20 special town council meeting, the council quickly gave Town Planning and Development Director Julie Spriggs the go-ahead to submit the paperwork to the state about participating in Downtown Strong.

The council also also has given the go-ahead to partnering with CGI Communications to create a series of videos to help showcase Nashville.

CGI is based in Rochester, N.Y., and works with the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties.

CGI’s video programming about Nashville is going to come at no cost to the town.

Spriggs said CGI offers to do videos for cities and towns nationwide, including providing the voice-overs, the music and the scripting.

Spriggs said all Nashville is going to have to be responsible for is providing the events, the townspeople and what the town would like to have showcased.

The plan is for four videos, with one video being a “welcome video” and the other three videos to be of topics of the town’s choosing.

Spriggs said one of the videos could be about the Blooming Festival, which is set for May. The Blooming Festival has traditionally included bands, a carnival, a parade and many other activities for people of all ages.

Spriggs said the welcome video will be posted on the homepage of the town’s website, with the other videos to be posted online where the town believes best.

She told the council that the videos can run anywhere from a minute to 2½ minutes in length.

The plan is for CGI to reach out to all Nashville businesses to see if they would like to be advertised.

The video footage can be delayed and the welcome video can be redone at no cost should the future town manager be hired after the initial footage is taken.

Spriggs said CGI contacted Nashville because the company felt the town had something to offer.

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