Nashville’s mayor has mapped out how he wants to spend a $10 million state grant provided as part of pandemic relief. Most of it will go into community initiatives not directly tied to COVID-19.
The funds, which are detailed here, include:
- $5 million to replenish funds previously stripped from Metro’s affordable housing fund.
- $3 million for public safety efforts that are less dependent on traditional policing. That includes funding for nonprofits, and for a crisis response unit run by the Nashville Health Department.
- $1 million for another round of grants for small businesses affected by the pandemic.
- $500,000 for the city’s tourism agency to recruit COVID-safe events to the city.
- $500,000 for two city agencies working on rebuilding Second Avenue after the Christmas bombing.
The Metro Council still must review the mayor’s slate of grant ideas.
Housing money restored
The $5 million for housing brings back funds for the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing that were held back during Metro’s budget emergency in late 2019.
Shortly after his election, Mayor John Cooper scrambled to fill a budget shortfall and postponed half of the city’s typical housing awards.
The ripple effects included a slowdown for one project intended to be affordable for teachers and firefighters. And, unbeknownst at the time, it was coming just before the global pandemic that would worsen housing and employment issues for Nashville.
The mayor says the reallocation fulfills his promise at the time to invest the same amount as soon as possible.
Metro says that since its creation in 2014, the Barnes Fund has supported more than 2,200 affordable housing units.