The chickens in the coop recently read about how “junky” Murfreesboro Road looks. We agree that some of those ugly car repair and car sales businesses are very unattractive. Very. Unattractive. A paint job of a neutral color (white or beige anyone?), maybe adding some shrubbery, and just some general sprucing up would go far.
However, the more we thought about it the more it occurred to us that people follow by example and there’s a huge bookend effect in play here. The first and last impression people have when driving into or leaving our city are two very trashy places.
On one end of Murfreesboro Rd. (the Nashville side), there’s a junky campground, boat repair store, and weekly rentals that are owned by a developer. This developer has been strongly supported by the person who, along with his family, owns some land at the other end of Murfreesboro Road (the Smyrna side). That business is Waldron Auto Yard and it was so unattractive several decades ago that the first lady of the United States Lady Bird Johnson insisted the federal government put up a fence to hide it so VIPs visiting Sewart Air Force Base in Smyrna would not be subjected to the ugly as they drove past.
Backing up a bit… how in the world do we connect the dots saying the alderman supports the developer? Remember when LaVergne got clobbered with the overdevelopment of Lake Forest and other housing projects? Where driveways were so small that people now have to park in their yards? Remember when the developer skipped through inspections by the codes department who passed his shoddy street, sewer and water work? Streets that aren’t wide enough for fire apparatus to get through if cars are parked on the streets. Those projects were all approved by the Planning Commission of years gone by. And who was on that Planning Commission voting YES YES YES for the developer? Mr. Waldron.
His junk yard business has a scary tire maze leading to the office. And that fence built by the FLOTUS Lady Bird Johnson? It is in a state of disrepair and the gaping entry reveals many things to be concerned about. (Hey state environmental people… why don’t you drop in for a visit there sometime??) This business had no water for 18 months because they did not want to follow code requirements. Speaking of no water, have you ever shook hands with anyone who works there? Ask yourself where they washed their hands after bathroom breaks with no running water. Heck, ask yourself where they went to the bathroom with no running water. Want to accept election swag from him that he has handled? Go for it.
We have two trendsetters here, bookends to our city. A developer hanging on to a cash cow of a weekly rental property – property that is often a last resort for people in need, but also a frequent flyer for police calls. And we have an unattractive junk yard.
Is this the image you want for our city? Because – again – it’s the first and last thing people see as they pass through. If an alderman can not keep his own business clean and sanitary, how do you expect him to “clean up” an entire city?
Next time he reaches out to shake your hand, think about that. And think about whether or not THIS is who you want representing you.