Mayor: Transportation, affordable housing a top priority for Murfreesboro

(Photo: WKRN)

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 continues its examination of the historic growth across Middle Tennessee with a look at challenges experienced in outlying communities.

In Murfreesboro, the city has completed its 2035 plan and Mayor Shane McFarland said as many as 300,000 people could be living there by then.

Mayor McFarland stressed the importance of maintaining a good quality of life while expanding.

“It’s a great place to live, making sure we keep property taxes as low as we possibly can. But then, we’ve got $160 some odd million worth of transportation projects. One of the main complaints we hear is traffic. We’ve got to be able to find ways to get our roads built and get our connections and thoroughfares built,” said McFarland.

Spill-over from Nashville’s growth is obvious in Murfreesboro’s neighborhoods, making affordable housing an issue not just in Davidson County.

“People who want to live in Nashville, may not be able to afford it, to find homes in Nashville, so they move to Murfreesboro and surrounding counties.  Now what you are starting to see is people who come to Murfreesboro may not be able to find homes in Murfreesboro, so they are relocating to Shelbyville, Coffee County and other surrounding areas. The growth in Nashville has affected the whole region,” said McFarland.

“Murfreesboro residents spend more time in their cars every day, going to work than any of our neighboring seven counties,” added McFarland.

Mayor McFarland told News 2 when he came to Murfreesboro in 1992, the city had around 40,000 residents. Now that number is around 140,000.

The city is conducting a special census to determine the exact number of current residents.

“Continuing as we grow, making sure the level we have set can stay at that level is going to be tough.  At the same time we have not raised property taxes, going on the 19th year, trying to make sure we maintain the level of service with the funds we have coming in, continues to be tough,” said McFarland.

McFarland added the city remains focused on transportation, affordable housing and quality of life in Murfreesboro.

He said the best word to describe Murfreesboro is “quality.”