It has been known for some time that the Public Works building off of Waldron Road is in terrible, horrible, no good shape. There’s mold. There are safety issues galore. The building is a hot mess. We learned all this several years ago when a space study was completed by the city of LaVergne. If I remember correctly, nearly all buildings were bursting at the seams (yes, even city hall where offices have been carved out of every nook and cranny available, though I think that a janitor closet still remains that could be a future office if someone doesn’t mind sharing it with a mop bucket). But the three biggest problems in my mind were:
- Public Works Building (yikes!)
- Fire Station 1 (old, definitely needs more room)
- Police Station (decent shape, but very cramped like City Hall)
So let’s just hyper focus on the Public Works Building, starting with some details. Located at 148 International Blvd., the property consists of 6.01 acres. It was purchased by the city on March 25, 1992 for $305,000. The most updated appraisal through Rutherford County GIS mapping is $726,200.
No one – not one single person – argues that something needs to be done. The question is … what? If I remember correctly, the original space needs study indicated that at least 10 acres were needed to adequately house a new building, salt barn, gravel areas (for roads), equipment such as backhoes, a fleet of trucks, skid-loaders, dump truck(s), a vehicle repair garage, and more. Please note in that sentence above – these items are what would be located near the roundabout if the city puts the public works facility at that location. You will have those items right next to the subdivision instead of homes, sidewalks, maybe a park.
In my opinion, building an industrial-type park next to a subdivision is not the best idea. But the query was raised… wouldn’t you rather have that than more houses? Well the answer is a resounding NO! A subdivision is about houses. Or mixed use such as retail shops, professional buildings (how about a doctor’s office or a dentist?). You can look at places like Lennox Village that have mixed uses. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE NICE THINGS LIKE THIS? WHY?
BUT we do have options, my friends. We do have options.
- One commenter on another site said there is land available on Dick Buchanan – which is already an industrial area and is located in mid-town which would be convenient for a Public Works facility.
- Though it’s not 10 acres, the city DOES have the option of tearing down the old building and constructing a new one. You can design a smaller footprint for the building, make it three stories and go up, allowing more room for storage. If I also remember, the area was in a flood zone. I would be interested in hearing whether or not it flooded in 2010 when the 100-year flood hit.
- Here’s a new idea that one of our site editors offered (thanks Deb!)… do you remember several years ago when an apartment developer came to LaVergne asking to rezone an I2 (heavy industrial) area to a PDR (planned density residential) and R3 (high density residential) on Blair Road? These would have been upscale apartments. However the residents who self-described themselves as the “Brentwood of LaVergne” nearly rioted. They were concerned about the traffic and also didn’t want renters (read between the lines on this one!) in their neighborhoods. It was defeated on first reading in 2014. That space – already zoned for industrial use – is still empty. Now that the mayor has retained the power to fully negotiate for the purchase of land, he needs to look into this possibility. EDITED: I just heard the Blair Road Apartment site sold for a mini-storage facility to go in. I would try to negotiate for 10 acres from the new owners!
So there you go, La Vergne. You have options. We can have nice things. You just have to have people fighting for you.
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