Sunday, July 27, 2008

Music Row land grab should be condemned

photo by Jeanne Reasonover/The Tennnessean
Joy Ford pictured above, owner of Country International Records, explains how the city closed a public alley which means her property can no longer accommodate artist tour buses.
by Gail Kerr, The Tennessean, Sunday July 27, 2008

City officials have closed her alley. Her property is barricaded on three sides. But inside the little brown brick building on Music Row, songwriters are still making music under Joy Ford's tutorage.

The Metro Development and Housing Agency is trying to take Ford's business and land. Not for a road or a bridge or some essential service. For a 225,000-square-foot office and retail high-rise for a private out-of-state developer. (link)

The city is out to take Joy Ford's property. They have offered her large sums of money, they closed the alley that accesses the back of her property and they have started condemnation proceedings. It is an outrage.

This is an excellent article by Gail Kerr. It not only explains the current circumstances surrounding the effort to take away Joy Ford's property but gives a brief summary of other past cases of government abuse of property owners in Nashville. The article also provides some local flavor. Despite the role of the multinational corporate interest in the music business, there are still many cottage industry players like Joy Ford. Unfortunately, the city fathers are ready to kick the Joy Fords to the curb, take their property, and turn it over to the big developers.

Nashville is still a small town, despite being a big city, so someone will probably send this post to Gail Kerr of the Tennnessean and to Phil Ryan of MDHA. I have known both Gail and Phil for many years, both from the days I was a member of the Metro Council and from my roll in the non-profit housing sector. If anyone is reading this who knows Joy Ford, please send her a copy.

Dear Gail,
This is an excellent article. I always read you columns and enjoy them immensely. I am somewhat critical of the quality of the Tennessean and think that it, like many newspapers across the country, has consistently gotten worse over the years. I think you, however, have emerged as a great writer. I am pleased to see you cover this story. You bring a human element to it. Please continue the coverage and don't let the story die. I give you my "amen."

Dear Phil,
I know you are not a bad person and you are only doing your job, but you disappoint me. I am generally proud of the work that MDHA does. We have had one of the nations few successful HOPE VI programs. We have well-managed public housing. We have had a lot of success in expanding homeownership and affordable housing. Down down development has been impressive. I am especially pleased with the development in the gulch. A lot of the credit for the impressive development of Nashville goes to you and you have a difficult job. However, Phil, you are the bad guy in this. It is simply wrong to take another's property just because you have a better use for it. This little piece of property is not charming, but it is not "blighted." That a big development would increase the tax base is insufficient justification for taking what is not yours. Please back off. Let the development of this area be delayed a few years. Let the development wrap around Ms Fords property. Why? Because as Joy Ford says, "This is America."

Dear Joy,
I don't know you, but I feel like I do. Hang in there. If you have a fund set up to help you with your legal fees, let me know. I will make a small contribution and post the information on this blog. Also, do you have a petition we can sign. Should I contact my Councilman? Please keep me informed. What can I do to help?

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

1 comment:

  1. New book on this stuff.