By David Melson
Development has its benefits.
Prospective new development has fueled what years of begging and pleading by longtime locals couldn’t accomplish: The state is signalizing the U.S. 231 North-State Highway 82-Eady Road intersection. Maybe a monument near the intersection memorializing those who’ve lost their lives there would be appropriate.
I suspect Tennessee Downs was the tipping point. Look for lots of traffic to hit 231 from the upcoming luxury motorsports complex, which I actually expect to be built. The new Tennessee Technology Center campus will add still more traffic. As of Thursday construction trailers were already set up, so that project's on go.
That intersection’s always seemed weird to me. It looks unusually wide coming off 82 onto 231, and southbound/northbound traffic is usually speeding up there coming from Deason or the airport/hospital area. And it seems like it takes an unusually long time to get across.
It seems ironic to me that a complex emphasizing driving high-performance vehicles is right along the speedway…uh, highway (you do really keep it under 65 there, right? Of course you do…) It’s noticeable that moonlighting Bedford County deputies are stationed so often at Uncle Nearest events.
We’ve heard statements about industries looking at 231 North Industrial Park — which would increase traffic even more — but where are they? If any actually show up on that now-empty land, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Is it just me or do I detect a touch of arrogance in the “We know who they are but we’re not going to tell you…” pronouncements about supposed new industries given to Shelbyville City Council and Bedford County Commission members at their meetings? I respect the need for a certain amount of pre-announcement corporate privacy, but this seems to be going too far.
After months of color-coded “projects” I’d like to actually see an announcement. This repeating that an industry is coming – and so far, nothing – makes me wonder if these are actual definite future industries or just companies considering this area.
I’ve also wondered if any real effort is being made to attract more large, national retail? All we hear is talk about industry and education, I’d like to see an individual hired to specifically focus on retail development. All that person has to do is get a Chick-Fil-A in a permanent location in Shelbyville and they’ll be loved forever.
Sometimes I brainstorm about ideas that could benefit Shelbyville. Consider...
•An upscale (there’s nothing wrong with that word…) multi-story downtown apartment complex like those in Murfreesboro. The large lot stretching from Deery Street to North Jefferson Street along Depot Street would be a good place to start. Buy the Times-Gazette building, knock it down instead of remodeling it, and you’ve got a perfect large lot. I’ve thought for years that the land under the T-G is much more valuable development-wise than the building itself.
Plans for a new downtown restaurant and an amphitheater near Duck River are a good start. We already have other downtown eateries. Having a downtown theater — rare these days — helps. Add some entertainment venues and you’ve got a desirable area for living. Look at cities like Nashville, Murfreesboro and Huntsville, and think big. We aren’t going to be a “little small country town” much longer — frankly, I don’t think we are now — so let’s become the best city we can be.
And, before the rumors begin: An eventual move DOES NOT mean the newspaper will stop publishing. Newspapers are like any other business — sometimes, they move. We are NOT moving to any other city; the offices and newsroom will remain in Shelbyville. Unless you’ve got cheap office space in Hawaii or even Gulf Shores where we can move and work remotely...
I realize many say there’s still a need for affordable housing in Shelbyville. Fair enough. But to grow — and attract the right demographics for retail for everyone — amenities for those with higher incomes have to be developed.
Upscale and affordable can co-exist.
•The U.S. 231 South-New Center Church Road intersection. Shelbyville is growing to the south as well as the north; note the new subdivision off Jordan Avenue. I’ve heard on and off that a high school may be added to Liberty School at some point, and that location makes sense. That would drive more traffic to that junction.
It would depend on property owners’ wishes for the future uses of their land, but I could see the area developing into a larger intersection with a convenience store and other nearby businesses.
Speaking of roads and traffic:
•A right turn lane is desperately needed southbound on Colloredo Boulevard at Union Street. Ditto for the westbound side of Fairfield Pike at North Main Street (the Walgreens-Circle K intersection.)
•Madison Street needs paving from Whitthorne Street to Wartrace Pike. I suspect that may happen when the state decides they’re finished with the 41A four-laning.
Our area’s growing. Development is important — but so is well-planned, thought-out development.
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