Metro jail amendment cutting projects called ‘blackmail’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Five projects for southeast Nashville, totaling more than $50 million in Mayor Karl Dean’s budget for 2016, will be taken out under an amendment filed Monday if the Metro jail is not relocated to the area, but at least opponent has fired back calling it “blackmail.”

The five projects include $26 million for the Mill Creek Greenway extension and a park, along with $19.9 million for a new Cane Ridge elementary school, $6 million for a Smith Springs area community center, $1 million for upgrades at Una Recreation Park, and $500,000 for a news Head Start facility in southeast Nashville.

“This will help us pay for the unintended consequences of not consolidating the jail facilities at the southeast Nashville location,” said Metro Council member Steve Glover, who filed the amendment.

Proposed jail plans
The proposed plans for the Metro jail

He argues the jail headquarters facility downtown needs about the same amount of money to renovate as it would to move, plus the Metro government would then miss out on selling the lucrative property.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” Glover added. “I know a lot of people are going to be mad at me who have been opposing the move.”

One of them is Alma Sanford, who has been one of the leaders of the group opposing the jail move called Southeast Nashville United.

“Steve Glover is trying to blackmail my community,” she told News 2 shortly after the amendment was filed. “Its so unethical, it stinks like rotten fish.”

Sanford explain her harsh words this way, “The people in this community stand to benefit from these projects, to punish the council members and get to thousands of people is so irresponsible.”

The plans to consolidate the jail at its site in southeast Nashville and relocate the Metro police headquarters to Jefferson Street have met some community resistance.

The amendment is the latest to be filed concerning the moves. It will be considered at Tuesday’s Metro Council budget and finance committee.

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